It is hard to get excited after looking at Service Stream's (ASX:SSM) recent performance, when its stock has declined 5.2% over the past three months. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. Specifically, we decided to study Service Stream'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.
How Is ROE Calculated?
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 Service Stream is:
3.6% = AU$18m ÷ AU$511m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated A$0.04 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.
Service Stream's Earnings Growth And 3.6% ROE
As you can see, Service Stream's ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 12%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Therefore, Service Stream's flat earnings over the past five years can possibly be explained by the low ROE amongst other factors.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Service Stream's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 14% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for SSM? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Service Stream Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
While the company did pay out a portion of its dividend in the past, it currently doesn't pay a dividend. We infer that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits to grow its business.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Service Stream can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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.
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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.