Most readers would already be aware that Warrior Met Coal's (NYSE:HCC) stock increased significantly by 8.5% over the past month. 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 Warrior Met Coal'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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
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 Warrior Met Coal is:
48% = US$620m ÷ US$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
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 $0.48 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. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.
Warrior Met Coal's Earnings Growth And 48% ROE
To begin with, Warrior Met Coal has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 20% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. Needless to say, we are quite surprised to see that Warrior Met Coal's net income shrunk at a rate of 24% over the past five years. So, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.
So, as a next step, we compared Warrior Met Coal's 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 28% in the same period.
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 Warrior Met Coal is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Warrior Met Coal Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
When we piece together Warrior Met Coal's low three-year median payout ratio of 1.8% (where it is retaining 98% 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. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
Moreover, Warrior Met Coal has been paying dividends for five years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer consistent dividends even though earnings have been shrinking. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 4.1% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected increase in the payout ratio explains the expected decline in the company's ROE to 14%, over the same period.
On the whole, we do feel that Warrior Met Coal has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. In addition, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that the company's earnings are expected to continue to shrink. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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