With its stock down 4.8% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Zimmer Biomet Holdings (NYSE:ZBH). We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Zimmer Biomet Holdings' ROE in this article.
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?
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 Zimmer Biomet Holdings is:
2.3% = US$282m ÷ US$12b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
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 $0.02 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 Zimmer Biomet Holdings' Earnings Growth And 2.3% ROE
It is quite clear that Zimmer Biomet Holdings' ROE is rather low. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 11%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 22% seen by Zimmer Biomet Holdings over the last five years is not surprising. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For example, the business has allocated capital poorly, or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
That being said, we compared Zimmer Biomet Holdings' performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 16% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for ZBH? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Zimmer Biomet Holdings Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
When we piece together Zimmer Biomet Holdings' low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (where it is retaining 78% of its profits), calculated for the last three-year period, we are puzzled by the lack of growth. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.
In addition, Zimmer Biomet Holdings 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. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 13% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 11% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about Zimmer Biomet Holdings. 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 current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.