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Metro Inc. (TSE:MRU) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

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Metro's (TSE:MRU) stock is up by 2.6% over the past month. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Metro'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 Metro

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Metro is:

13% = CA$829m ÷ CA$6.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CA$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CA$0.13 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

Metro's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

At first glance, Metro seems to have a decent ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 12%. Metro's decent returns aren't reflected in Metro'smediocre five year net income growth average of 2.4%. A few likely reasons that could be keeping earnings growth low are - the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Metro's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 9.6% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. What is MRU worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether MRU is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Metro Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 29% (or a retention ratio of 71% over the past three years, Metro has seen very little growth in earnings as we saw above. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.

In addition, Metro 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 29%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 14%.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Metro has some positive attributes. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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