Kimball International (NASDAQ:KBAL) has had a rough month with its share price down 5.6%. 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. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. In this article, we decided to focus on Kimball International's ROE.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Kimball International is:
3.9% = US$9.2m ÷ US$236m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.04 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. 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 everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.
Kimball International's Earnings Growth And 3.9% ROE
It is quite clear that Kimball International's ROE is rather low. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 11%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Therefore, the disappointing ROE therefore provides a background to Kimball International's very little net income growth of 2.8% over the past five years.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Kimball International's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 10% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is KBAL fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Kimball International Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
While Kimball International has a decent three-year median payout ratio of 30% (or a retention ratio of 70%), it has seen very little growth in earnings. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.
Moreover, Kimball International has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 39% over the next three years. Regardless, the future ROE for Kimball International is speculated to rise to 20% despite the anticipated increase in the payout ratio. There could probably be other factors that could be driving the future growth in the ROE.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Kimball International 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.
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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