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Is Weakness In Steppe Cement Ltd. (LON:STCM) Stock A Sign That The Market Could be Wrong Given Its Strong Financial Prospects?

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Steppe Cement (LON:STCM) has had a rough three months with its share price down 10%. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. In this article, we decided to focus on Steppe Cement's ROE.

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Steppe Cement

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Steppe Cement is:

21% = US$13m ÷ US$63m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every £1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn £0.21 in profit.

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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Steppe Cement's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE

Firstly, we acknowledge that Steppe Cement has a significantly high ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 9.0% the company's ROE is quite impressive. As a result, Steppe Cement's exceptional 50% net income growth seen over the past five years, doesn't come as a surprise.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Steppe Cement's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 16% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Steppe Cement's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Steppe Cement Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Steppe Cement's significant three-year median payout ratio of 90% (where it is retaining only 10% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Besides, Steppe Cement has been paying dividends over a period of seven years. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 97% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Steppe Cement's future ROE will rise to 29% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Steppe Cement's performance. In particular, its high ROE is quite noteworthy and also the probable explanation behind its considerable earnings growth. Yet, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Which means that the company has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's not too bad. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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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