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Atlas Pearls Limited's (ASX:ATP) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

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Atlas Pearls (ASX:ATP) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 48% over the last three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Atlas Pearls' ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for Atlas Pearls

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Atlas Pearls is:

36% = AU$6.7m ÷ AU$18m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.36 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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 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.

Atlas Pearls' Earnings Growth And 36% ROE

First thing first, we like that Atlas Pearls has an impressive ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 10% the company's ROE is quite impressive. Needless to say, we are quite surprised to see that Atlas Pearls' net income shrunk at a rate of 38% over the past five years. 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. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared Atlas Pearls' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 5.9% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Atlas Pearls is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Atlas Pearls Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Atlas Pearls doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that potentially all of its profits are being reinvested in the business, which doesn't explain why the company's earnings have shrunk if it is retaining all of its profits. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Atlas Pearls has some positive attributes. 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. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. Our risks dashboard would have the 3 risks we have identified for Atlas Pearls.

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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