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Most readers would already be aware that Cousins Properties' (NYSE:CUZ) stock increased significantly by 27% over the past three months. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Cousins Properties' ROE today.
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.
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 Cousins Properties is:
7.6% = US$345m ÷ US$4.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.08 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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Cousins Properties' Earnings Growth And 7.6% ROE
At first glance, Cousins Properties' ROE doesn't look very promising. However, the fact that the its ROE is quite higher to the industry average of 5.4% doesn't go unnoticed by us. Particularly, the substantial 22% net income growth seen by Cousins Properties over the past five years is impressive . That being said, the company does have a slightly low ROE to begin with, just that it is higher than the industry average. Hence, there might be some other aspects that are causing earnings to grow. E.g the company has a low payout ratio or could belong to a high growth industry.
As a next step, we compared Cousins Properties' net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 12%.
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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. What is CUZ worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether CUZ is currently mispriced by the market.
Is Cousins Properties Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
The three-year median payout ratio for Cousins Properties is 40%, which is moderately low. The company is retaining the remaining 60%. By the looks of it, the dividend is well covered and Cousins Properties is reinvesting its profits efficiently as evidenced by its exceptional growth which we discussed above.
Moreover, Cousins Properties is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 43%. Regardless, Cousins Properties' ROE is speculated to decline to 2.6% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
In total, we are pretty happy with Cousins Properties' performance. Specifically, we like that it has been reinvesting a high portion of its profits at a moderate rate of return, resulting in earnings expansion. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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.
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