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Is Bodycote plc's (LON:BOY) Recent Performancer Underpinned By Weak Financials?

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Bodycote (LON:BOY) has had a rough three months with its share price down 16%. We decided to study the company's financials to determine if the downtrend will continue as the long-term performance of a company usually dictates market outcomes. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Bodycote's ROE today.

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.

View our latest analysis for Bodycote

How Do You 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 Bodycote is:

5.2% = UK£35m ÷ UK£664m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.05.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

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

Bodycote's Earnings Growth And 5.2% ROE

At first glance, Bodycote's ROE doesn't look very promising. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 20% seen by Bodycote was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

However, when we compared Bodycote's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 7.8% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Bodycote's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Bodycote Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Bodycote has a high three-year median payout ratio of 53% (that is, it is retaining 47% 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. The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for Bodycote by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Moreover, Bodycote 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 39% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Bodycote's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 14%, over the same period.

Conclusion

On the whole, Bodycote's performance is quite a big let-down. 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. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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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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