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Sensient Technologies Corporation's (NYSE:SXT) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

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·4 min read
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Sensient Technologies' (NYSE:SXT) stock is up by a considerable 11% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Sensient Technologies' ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Sensient Technologies

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Sensient Technologies is:

13% = US$120m ÷ US$926m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.13 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

Sensient Technologies' Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To begin with, Sensient Technologies seems to have a respectable ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 12% the company's ROE looks quite decent. For this reason, Sensient Technologies' five year net income decline of 2.5% raises the question as to why the decent ROE didn't translate into growth. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Sensient Technologies' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 2.9% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for SXT? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Sensient Technologies Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 48% (or a retention ratio of 52%) which is pretty normal, Sensient Technologies' declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, Sensient Technologies has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 48% of its profits over the next three years. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Sensient Technologies' future ROE will be 15% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Sensient Technologies certainly does have some positive factors to consider. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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.