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Steamships Trading (ASX:SST) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 28% over the last 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 Steamships Trading'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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Steamships Trading is:
8.5% = K87m ÷ K1.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.08 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 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.
Steamships Trading's Earnings Growth And 8.5% ROE
When you first look at it, Steamships Trading's ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 11%, we may spare it some thought. Having said that, Steamships Trading has shown a modest net income growth of 10% over the past five years. Given the slightly low ROE, it is likely that there could be some other aspects that are driving this growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Steamships Trading's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 5.7% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Steamships Trading's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Steamships Trading Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Steamships Trading has a three-year median payout ratio of 39%, which implies that it retains the remaining 61% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.
Additionally, Steamships Trading has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders.
In total, it does look like Steamships Trading has some positive aspects to its business. With a high rate of reinvestment, albeit at a low ROE, the company has managed to see a considerable growth in its earnings. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. To know the 1 risk we have identified for Steamships Trading visit our risks dashboard for free.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.