With its stock down 12% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO). However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Valero Energy's 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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Valero Energy is:
40% = US$11b ÷ US$28b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.40 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.
Valero Energy's Earnings Growth And 40% ROE
First thing first, we like that Valero Energy has an impressive ROE. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 24% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. So, the substantial 43% net income growth seen by Valero Energy over the past five years isn't overly surprising.
We then compared Valero Energy'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 31% in the same 5-year 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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is VLO worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether VLO is currently mispriced by the market.
Is Valero Energy Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Valero Energy has a really low three-year median payout ratio of 13%, meaning that it has the remaining 87% left over to reinvest into its business. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business as evidenced by the growth seen by the company.
Moreover, Valero Energy 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 49% over the next three years. Consequently, the higher expected payout ratio explains the decline in the company's expected ROE (to 10.0%) over the same period.
On the whole, we feel that Valero Energy's 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. 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 company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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.