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Novanta Inc.'s (NASDAQ:NOVT) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

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Most readers would already be aware that Novanta's (NASDAQ:NOVT) stock increased significantly by 31% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Novanta'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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

Check out our latest analysis for Novanta

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Novanta is:

8.9% = US$44m ÷ US$493m (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.09 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.

Novanta's Earnings Growth And 8.9% ROE

On the face of it, Novanta's ROE is not much to talk about. 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 14%. However, the moderate 8.1% net income growth seen by Novanta over the past five years is definitely a positive. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then compared Novanta's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 15% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. 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 Novanta is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Novanta Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Given that Novanta doesn't pay any dividend to its shareholders, we infer that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits to grow its business.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Novanta certainly does have some positive factors to consider. That is, a decent growth in earnings backed by a high rate of reinvestment. However, we do feel that that earnings growth could have been higher if the business were to improve on the low ROE rate. Especially given how the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

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.

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

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