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With its stock down 17% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard WD-40 (NASDAQ:WDFC). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on WD-40's ROE.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. 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 WD-40 is:
40% = US$75m ÷ US$188m (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2021).
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 Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.
WD-40's Earnings Growth And 40% ROE
Firstly, we acknowledge that WD-40 has a significantly high ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 24% the company's ROE is quite impressive. Probably as a result of this, WD-40 was able to see a decent net income growth of 5.6% over the last five years.
We then compared WD-40's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 11% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.
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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about WD-40's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is WD-40 Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
The high three-year median payout ratio of 51% (or a retention ratio of 49%) for WD-40 suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of its income to its shareholders.
Moreover, WD-40 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.
On the whole, we do feel that WD-40 has some positive attributes. Its earnings have grown respectably as we saw earlier, which was likely due to the company reinvesting its earnings at a pretty high rate of return. However, given the high ROE, we do think that the company is reinvesting a small portion of its profits. This could likely be preventing the company from growing to its full extent. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current growth rate. 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.
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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