Flowers Foods, Inc.'s (NYSE:FLO) Has Performed Well But Fundamentals Look Varied: Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?

Flowers Foods, Inc. -0.75% Pre

Flowers Foods, Inc.

FLO

22.62

22.62

-0.75%

0.00% Pre

Most readers would already know that Flowers Foods' (NYSE:FLO) stock increased by 5.5% over the past three months. However, we decided to study the company's mixed-bag of fundamentals to assess what this could mean for future share prices, as stock prices tend to be aligned with a company's long-term financial performance. In this article, we decided to focus on Flowers Foods' ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Flowers Foods

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 Flowers Foods is:

9.1% = US$123m ÷ US$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax 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 $0.09 in profit.

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. 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.

Flowers Foods' Earnings Growth And 9.1% ROE

On the face of it, Flowers Foods' ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 14% either. However, the moderate 5.5% net income growth seen by Flowers Foods over the past five years is definitely a positive. So, the growth in the company's earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then compared Flowers Foods' net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 15% in the same 5-year period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:FLO Past Earnings Growth March 30th 2024

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. If you're wondering about Flowers Foods''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Flowers Foods Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Flowers Foods has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 83%, meaning that it is left with only 17% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Besides, Flowers Foods has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 74%. Still, forecasts suggest that Flowers Foods' future ROE will rise to 20% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Flowers Foods' performance. While no doubt its earnings growth is pretty respectable, the low profit retention could mean that the company's earnings growth could have been higher, had it been paying reinvesting a higher portion of its profits. An improvement in its ROE could also help future earnings growth. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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.

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