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Stepan's (NYSE:SCL) stock is up by a considerable 6.3% over the past month. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. In this article, we decided to focus on Stepan's 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How Is ROE Calculated?
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 Stepan is:
13% = US$142m ÷ US$1.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.13.
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.
Stepan's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE
To start with, Stepan's ROE looks acceptable. Yet, the fact that the company's ROE is lower than the industry average of 17% does temper our expectations. Stepan was still able to see a decent net income growth of 11% over the past five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently. However, not to forget, the company does have a decent ROE to begin with, just that it is lower than the industry average. So this also provides some context to the earnings growth seen by the company.
We then compared Stepan's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 8.0% in the same period.
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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for SCL? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Stepan Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
In Stepan's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 21% (or a retention ratio of 79%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.
Additionally, Stepan 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.
On the whole, we feel that Stepan's performance has been quite good. Specifically, we like that it has been reinvesting a high portion of its profits at a moderate rate of return, resulting in earnings expansion. We also studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that the company's earnings growth is expected be similar to 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.
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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.