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Has Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc.'s (NYSE:SWM) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Most readers would already be aware that Schweitzer-Mauduit International's (NYSE:SWM) stock increased significantly by 36% over the past three months. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Specifically, we decided to study Schweitzer-Mauduit International's ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Schweitzer-Mauduit International

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Schweitzer-Mauduit International is:

13% = US$84m ÷ US$650m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.13 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.

A Side By Side comparison of Schweitzer-Mauduit International's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To begin with, Schweitzer-Mauduit International seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Given the circumstances, we can't help but wonder why Schweitzer-Mauduit International saw little to no growth in the past five years. We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that's limiting the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

As a next step, we compared Schweitzer-Mauduit International's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 7.0% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is SWM worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether SWM is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Schweitzer-Mauduit International Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 63% (implying that the company keeps only 37% of its income) of its business to reinvest into its business), most of Schweitzer-Mauduit International's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the absence of growth in earnings.

Additionally, Schweitzer-Mauduit International has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 47% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the lower expected payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Schweitzer-Mauduit International certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE. Bear in mind, the company reinvests a small portion of its profits, which means that investors aren't reaping the benefits of the high rate of return. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.