With its stock down 11% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Eastman Kodak (NYSE:KODK). However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Eastman Kodak's ROE today.
ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How To Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Eastman Kodak is:
14% = US$47m ÷ US$339m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.14 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 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Eastman Kodak's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE
To start with, Eastman Kodak's ROE looks acceptable. Be that as it may, the company's ROE is still quite lower than the industry average of 21%. Needless to say, the 64% net income shrink rate seen by Eastman Kodakover the past five years is a huge dampener. Bear in mind, the company does have a high ROE. It is just that the industry ROE is higher. Hence there might be some other aspects that are causing earnings to shrink. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
So, as a next step, we compared Eastman Kodak'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 15% in the same period.
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Eastman Kodak's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Eastman Kodak Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Because Eastman Kodak doesn't pay any dividends, we infer that it is retaining all of its profits, which is rather perplexing when you consider the fact that there is no earnings growth to show for it. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.
On the whole, we do feel that Eastman Kodak has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a respectable rate of return and is reinvesting a 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. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. Our risks dashboard would have the 2 risks we have identified for Eastman Kodak.
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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