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Blackmores Limited's (ASX:BKL) Dismal Stock Performance Reflects Weak Fundamentals

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With its stock down 16% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Blackmores (ASX:BKL). Given that stock prices are usually driven by a company’s fundamentals over the long term, which in this case look pretty weak, we decided to study the company's key financial indicators. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Blackmores' ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

Check out our latest analysis for Blackmores

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 Blackmores is:

9.5% = AU$38m ÷ AU$399m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.10 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 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.

Blackmores' Earnings Growth And 9.5% ROE

At first glance, Blackmores' ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 13%. For this reason, Blackmores' five year net income decline of 29% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

Furthermore, even when compared to the industry, which has been shrinking its earnings at a rate 11% in the same period, we found that Blackmores' performance is pretty disappointing, as it suggests that the company has been shrunk its earnings at a rate faster than the industry.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Is BKL fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Blackmores Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Blackmores has a high three-year median payout ratio of 62% (that is, it is retaining 38% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent.

In addition, Blackmores 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. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 66%. Regardless, the future ROE for Blackmores is predicted to rise to 15% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Blackmores. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. 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. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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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