National Health Investors (NYSE:NHI) has had a rough month with its share price down 11%. It is possible that the markets have ignored the company’s differing financials and decided to lean-in to the negative sentiment. 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to National Health Investors’ ROE today.
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 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 National Health Investors is:
9.9% = US$154m ÷ US$1.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).
The ‘return’ is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder’s investments, the company generates a profit of $0.10.
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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of National Health Investors’ Earnings Growth And 9.9% ROE
On the face of it, National Health Investors’ ROE is not much to talk about. However, the fact that the its ROE is quite higher to the industry average of 5.5% doesn’t go unnoticed by us. Still, National Health Investors has seen a flat net income growth over the past five years. Remember, the company’s ROE is a bit low to begin with, just that it is higher than the industry average. Therefore, the low to flat growth in earnings could also be the result of this.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that National Health Investors’ reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 8.8% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Is National Health Investors fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is National Health Investors Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
National Health Investors seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 75%, meaning that the company retains only 25% of its profits. However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. So this probably explains the absence of growth in earnings.
In addition, National Health Investors 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. Based on the latest analysts’ estimates, we found that the company’s future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 65%.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by National Health Investors can be open to many interpretations. On the one hand, the company does have a decent rate of return, however, its earnings growth number is quite disappointing and as discussed earlier, the low retained earnings is hampering the growth. 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.
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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.
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