Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:EA) stock is up by 4.2% over the past month. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Electronic Arts' 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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Is ROE Calculated?
Return on equity 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 Electronic Arts is:
12% = US$901m ÷ US$7.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.12 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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.
Electronic Arts' Earnings Growth And 12% ROE
To start with, Electronic Arts' ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 13%. However, while Electronic Arts has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 7.1% . So, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
However, when we compared Electronic Arts' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 20% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for EA? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Electronic Arts Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Electronic Arts' low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (or a retention ratio of 78%) over the last three years should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth but the company's earnings have actually shrunk. 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, Electronic Arts only recently started paying a dividend so the management probably decided the shareholders prefer dividends even though earnings have been shrinking. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 9.0% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 20% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.
In total, it does look like Electronic Arts has some positive aspects to its business. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its 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 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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here