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West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.'s (NYSE:WST) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) has had a rough three months with its share price down 25%. But if you pay close attention, you might gather that its strong financials could mean that the stock could potentially see an increase in value in the long-term, given how markets usually reward companies with good financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on West Pharmaceutical Services' ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for West Pharmaceutical Services

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for West Pharmaceutical Services is:

26% = US$631m ÷ US$2.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.26 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 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 Pharmaceutical Services' Earnings Growth And 26% ROE

To begin with, West Pharmaceutical Services has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 16% which is quite remarkable. As a result, West Pharmaceutical Services' exceptional 34% net income growth seen over the past five years, doesn't come as a surprise.

Next, on comparing West Pharmaceutical Services' net income growth with the industry, we found that the company's reported growth is similar to the industry average growth rate of 34% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if West Pharmaceutical Services is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is West Pharmaceutical Services Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

West Pharmaceutical Services' three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 12%, which is quite low. This implies that the company is retaining 88% 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 Pharmaceutical Services 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. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 8.5% over the next three years. However, West Pharmaceutical Services' future ROE is expected to decline to 19% despite the expected decline in its payout ratio. We infer that there could be other factors that could be steering the foreseen decline in the company's ROE.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that West Pharmaceutical Services' performance has been quite good. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see substantial growth in its earnings. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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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