UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to UnitedHealth Group’s ROE today.
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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
View our latest analysis for UnitedHealth Group
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 UnitedHealth Group is:
24% = US$21b ÷ US$86b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).
The ‘return’ refers to a company’s earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders’ equity, the company generated $0.24 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or “retains”, and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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 UnitedHealth Group’s Earnings Growth And 24% ROE
Firstly, we acknowledge that UnitedHealth Group has a significantly high ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 11% the company’s ROE is quite impressive. Probably as a result of this, UnitedHealth Group was able to see a decent net income growth of 11% over the last five years.
Next, on comparing UnitedHealth Group’s net income growth with the industry, we found that the company’s reported growth is similar to the industry average growth rate of 13% in the same period.
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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock’s future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for UNH? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is UnitedHealth Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
UnitedHealth Group has a three-year median payout ratio of 30%, which implies that it retains the remaining 70% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.
Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 26%. Therefore, the company’s future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 28%.
In total, we are pretty happy with UnitedHealth Group’s performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. We also studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that the company’s earnings growth is expected be similar to its current growth rate. To know more about the company’s future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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.
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