Should Weakness in AMERISAFE, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMSF) Stock Be Seen As A Sign That Market Will Correct The Share Price Given Decent Financials?

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AMERISAFE (NASDAQ:AMSF) has had a rough three months with its share price down 18%. But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. In this article, we decided to focus on AMERISAFE’s ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

Check out our latest analysis for AMERISAFE

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 AMERISAFE is:

20% = US$62m ÷ US$301m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.20 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company’s future earnings. 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.

AMERISAFE’s Earnings Growth And 20% ROE

At first glance, AMERISAFE seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 13% the company’s ROE looks pretty impressive. As you might expect, the 9.5% net income decline reported by AMERISAFE is a bit of a surprise. Therefore, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared AMERISAFE’s growth with the industry we found that while the company’s earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 8.4% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock’s future looks promising or ominous. Is AMSF fairly valued? This infographic on the company’s intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is AMERISAFE Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 40% (where it is retaining 60% of its profits), AMERISAFE has seen a decline 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.

Moreover, AMERISAFE has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth.

Summary

In total, it does look like AMERISAFE has some positive aspects to its business. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that’s preventing growth. In addition, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that the company’s earnings are expected to continue to shrink. 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.