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Weak Financial Prospects Seem To Be Dragging Down Sunland Group Limited (ASX:SDG) Stock

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With its stock down 12% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Sunland Group (ASX:SDG). 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 Sunland Group'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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Sunland Group

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Sunland Group is:

3.0% = AU$10m ÷ AU$345m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.03.

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.

Sunland Group's Earnings Growth And 3.0% ROE

As you can see, Sunland Group's ROE looks pretty weak. Further, we noted that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 3.7%. Given the low ROE Sunland Group's five year net income decline of 25% is not surprising.

Next, when we compared with the industry, which has shrunk its earnings at a rate of 9.2% in the same period, we still found Sunland Group's performance to be quite bleak, because the company has been shrinking its earnings faster than the industry.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is Sunland Group fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Sunland Group Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Sunland Group has a high three-year median payout ratio of 58% (that is, it is retaining 42% 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. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Sunland Group visit our risks dashboard for free.

In addition, Sunland Group has been paying dividends over a period of eight years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 40% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 11%, over the same period.

Summary

In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning Sunland Group. 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. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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