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Weak Financial Prospects Seem To Be Dragging Down SOCO Corporation Ltd (ASX:SOC) Stock

It is hard to get excited after looking at SOCO's (ASX:SOC) recent performance, when its stock has declined 53% over the past three months. To decide if this trend could continue, we decided to look at its weak fundamentals as they shape the long-term market trends. In this article, we decided to focus on SOCO's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for SOCO

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for SOCO is:

4.5% = AU$350k ÷ AU$7.8m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

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$0.05.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

A Side By Side comparison of SOCO's Earnings Growth And 4.5% ROE

On the face of it, SOCO's ROE is not much to talk about. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 6.4%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. For this reason, SOCO's five year net income decline of 10% 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.

However, when we compared SOCO's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 15% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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 SOCO fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is SOCO Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 66% (implying that 34% of the profits are retained), most of SOCO's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the company's shrinking earnings. 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. Our risks dashboard should have the 7 risks we have identified for SOCO.

Additionally, SOCO started paying a dividend only recently. So it looks like the management may have perceived that shareholders favor dividends even though earnings have been in decline.

Conclusion

On the whole, SOCO's performance is quite a big let-down. Because the company is not reinvesting much into the business, and given the low ROE, it's not surprising to see the lack or absence of growth in its earnings. So far, we've only made a quick discussion around the company's earnings growth. So it may be worth checking this free detailed graph of SOCO's past earnings, as well as revenue and cash flows to get a deeper insight into the company's performance.

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.