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Imperial Oil Limited's (TSE:IMO) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

·4-min read

Imperial Oil (TSE:IMO) has had a rough month with its share price down 12%. 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. In this article, we decided to focus on Imperial Oil's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Imperial Oil

How To 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 Imperial Oil is:

15% = CA$3.3b ÷ CA$22b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every CA$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of CA$0.15.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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 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.

Imperial Oil's Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To begin with, Imperial Oil seems to have a respectable ROE. Be that as it may, the company's ROE is still quite lower than the industry average of 24%. Moreover, Imperial Oil's net income shrunk at a rate of 17%over the past five years. Not to forget, the company does have a high ROE to begin with, just that it is lower than the industry average. Therefore, the shrinking earnings could be the result of other factors. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared Imperial Oil's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 16% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. What is IMO worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether IMO is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Imperial Oil Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Imperial Oil's low three-year median payout ratio of 23% (implying that it retains the remaining 77% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. 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.

Additionally, Imperial Oil has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 17% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Imperial Oil's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 19%, over the same period.

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Imperial Oil 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. Having said that, we studied the latest analyst forecasts, and found that analysts are expecting the company's earnings growth to improve slightly. This could offer some relief to the company's existing shareholders. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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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