Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Ituran Location and Control Ltd. (NASDAQ:ITRN)?

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With its stock down 4.9% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Ituran Location and Control (NASDAQ:ITRN). However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. Specifically, we decided to study Ituran Location and Control’s ROE in this article.

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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company’s shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Ituran Location and Control

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 Ituran Location and Control is:

27% = US$40m ÷ US$147m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

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 $0.27 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we’ve learned that ROE is a measure of a company’s profitability. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don’t necessarily bear these characteristics.

Ituran Location and Control’s Earnings Growth And 27% ROE

First thing first, we like that Ituran Location and Control has an impressive ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 9.8% the company’s ROE is quite impressive. For this reason, Ituran Location and Control’s five year net income decline of 15% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn’t translate into earnings growth. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven’t been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company’s growth. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Ituran Location and Control’s growth with the industry we found that while the company’s earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 22% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growthpast-earnings-growth

past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Ituran Location and Control fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Ituran Location and Control Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 34% (where it is retaining 66% of its profits), Ituran Location and Control has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, Ituran Location and Control 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.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Ituran Location and Control certainly does have some positive factors to consider. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn’t the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that’s hampering its growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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.

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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