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World Fuel Services Corporation's (NYSE:INT) Financials Are Too Obscure To Link With Current Share Price Momentum: What's In Store For the Stock?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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World Fuel Services' (NYSE:INT) stock is up by a considerable 12% over the past month. But the company's key financial indicators appear to be differing across the board and that makes us question whether or not the company's current share price momentum can be maintained. Particularly, we will be paying attention to World Fuel Services' ROE today.

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.

See our latest analysis for World Fuel Services

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for World Fuel Services is:

7.5% = US$137m ÷ US$1.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.08.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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 World Fuel Services' Earnings Growth And 7.5% ROE

At first glance, World Fuel Services' ROE doesn't look very promising. However, its ROE is similar to the industry average of 7.4%, so we won't completely dismiss the company. But then again, World Fuel Services' five year net income shrunk at a rate of 9.2%. Remember, the company's ROE is a bit low to begin with. So that's what might be causing earnings growth to shrink.

However, when we compared World Fuel Services' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 21% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. If you're wondering about World Fuel Services''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is World Fuel Services Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

When we piece together World Fuel Services' low three-year median payout ratio of 13% (where it is retaining 87% of its profits), calculated for the last three-year period, we are puzzled by the lack of growth. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.

In addition, World Fuel Services has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by World Fuel Services can be open to many interpretations. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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.

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