It is hard to get excited after looking at Apogee Enterprises' (NASDAQ:APOG) recent performance, when its stock has declined 15% over the past month. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. Specifically, we decided to study Apogee Enterprises' ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How To 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 Apogee Enterprises is:
9.8% = US$49m ÷ US$504m (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2020).
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 $0.10 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For 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 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.
Apogee Enterprises' Earnings Growth And 9.8% ROE
At first glance, Apogee Enterprises' ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 13%. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 5.2% seen by Apogee Enterprises over the last five years is not surprising. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
So, as a next step, we compared Apogee Enterprises' performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 12% in the same period.
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Apogee Enterprises''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Apogee Enterprises Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Apogee Enterprises' low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (implying that it retains the remaining 78% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. This typically shouldn't be the case when a company is retaining most of its earnings. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For example, the company's business may be deteriorating.
In addition, Apogee Enterprises 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.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Apogee Enterprises can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. 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 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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