Should Weakness in Intertek Group plc's (LON:ITRK) Stock Be Seen As A Sign That Market Will Correct The Share Price Given Decent Financials?

·4 min read

It is hard to get excited after looking at Intertek Group's (LON:ITRK) recent performance, when its stock has declined 13% over the past three months. But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Intertek Group's ROE today.

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Intertek Group

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 Intertek Group is:

26% = UK£313m ÷ UK£1.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.26 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

Intertek Group's Earnings Growth And 26% ROE

First thing first, we like that Intertek Group has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 18% which is quite remarkable. Despite this, Intertek Group's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital

As a next step, we compared Intertek Group's net income growth with the industry and discovered that the industry saw an average growth of 3.2% in the same period.

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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. What is ITRK worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ITRK is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Intertek Group Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 59% (implying that the company keeps only 41% of its income) of its business to reinvest into its business), most of Intertek Group's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the absence of growth in earnings.

In addition, Intertek Group has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 49%. As a result, Intertek Group's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 29% for future ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we feel that Intertek Group certainly does have some positive factors to consider. However, while the company does have a high ROE, its earnings growth number is quite disappointing. This can be blamed on the fact that it reinvests only a small portion of its profits and pays out the rest as dividends. 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 company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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.

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