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Stella-Jones Inc.'s (TSE:SJ) Recent Stock Performance Looks Decent- Can Strong Fundamentals Be the Reason?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

Most readers would already know that Stella-Jones' (TSE:SJ) stock increased by 6.8% over the past three months. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Stella-Jones' ROE today.

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Stella-Jones

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 Stella-Jones is:

14% = CA$204m ÷ CA$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CA$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CA$0.14 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

Stella-Jones' Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To start with, Stella-Jones' ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 13%. Stella-Jones' decent returns aren't reflected in Stella-Jones'mediocre five year net income growth average of 3.8%. So, there could be some other factors at play that could be impacting the company's growth. For instance, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

When you consider the fact that the industry earnings have shrunk at a rate of 4.4% in the same period, the company's net income growth is pretty remarkable.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Is Stella-Jones fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Stella-Jones Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Stella-Jones' low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (or a retention ratio of 78%) should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth. However, the low earnings growth number doesn't reflect this as high growth usually follows high profit retention. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Additionally, Stella-Jones 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 is expected to keep paying out approximately 21% of its profits over the next three years. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 12%.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that Stella-Jones' performance has been quite good. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current growth rate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.