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carsales.com Ltd (ASX:CAR) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

carsales.com's (ASX:CAR) stock up by 6.3% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on carsales.com'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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for carsales.com

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

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

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So, based on the above formula, the ROE for carsales.com is:

21% = AU$503m ÷ AU$2.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated A$0.21 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.

A Side By Side comparison of carsales.com's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE

To start with, carsales.com's ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 21%. This probably goes some way in explaining carsales.com's moderate 14% growth over the past five years amongst other factors.

As a next step, we compared carsales.com's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 22% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. 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 carsales.com is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is carsales.com Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

carsales.com has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 90%, meaning that it is left with only 10% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Additionally, carsales.com has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 75%. Regardless, carsales.com's ROE is speculated to decline to 10% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like carsales.com has some positive aspects to its business. The company has grown its earnings moderately as previously discussed. Still, the high ROE could have been even more beneficial to investors had the company been reinvesting more of its profits. As highlighted earlier, the current reinvestment rate appears to be quite low. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings 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.

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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