Is GWA Group Limited's (ASX:GWA) Stock Price Struggling As A Result Of Its Mixed Financials?
GWA Group (ASX:GWA) has had a rough three months with its share price down 15%. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. Specifically, we decided to study GWA Group's 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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
View our latest analysis for GWA Group
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 GWA Group is:
12% = AU$35m ÷ AU$301m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every A$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A$0.12 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 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.
GWA Group's Earnings Growth And 12% ROE
To begin with, GWA Group seems to have a respectable ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks quite decent. However, while GWA Group has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 8.4% . We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.
So, as a next step, we compared GWA Group's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 9.6% in the same period.
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 GWA Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is GWA Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
GWA Group has a high three-year median payout ratio of 98% (that is, it is retaining 2.4% 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 very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely.
Moreover, GWA Group 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. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 75% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 17% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about GWA Group. While the company does have a high rate of return, its low earnings retention is probably what's hampering its earnings growth. 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 company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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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