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West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.'s (TSE:WFG) Stock Is Going Strong: Is the Market Following Fundamentals?

·4 min read

West Fraser Timber's (TSE:WFG) stock is up by a considerable 22% 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. Specifically, we decided to study West Fraser Timber's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for West Fraser Timber

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 West Fraser Timber is:

39% = US$3.4b ÷ US$8.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CA$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CA$0.39 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

West Fraser Timber's Earnings Growth And 39% ROE

To begin with, West Fraser Timber has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 24% the company's ROE is quite impressive. So, the substantial 51% net income growth seen by West Fraser Timber over the past five years isn't overly surprising.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that West Fraser Timber's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 13% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for WFG? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is West Fraser Timber Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

West Fraser Timber's ' three-year median payout ratio is on the lower side at 2.9% implying that it is retaining a higher percentage (97%) of its profits. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business as evidenced by the growth seen by the company.

Additionally, West Fraser Timber 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 11% over the next three years.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that West Fraser Timber's performance has been quite good. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings to shrink. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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