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Associated British Foods plc's (LON:ABF) Earnings Dropped -12%, How Did It Fare Against The Industry?

Simply Wall St

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After reading Associated British Foods plc's (LON:ABF) most recent earnings announcement (02 March 2019), I found it useful to look back at how the company has performed in the past and compare this against the latest numbers. As a long term investor, I pay close attention to earnings trend, rather than the figures published at one point in time. I also compare against an industry benchmark to check whether Associated British Foods's performance has been impacted by industry movements. In this article I briefly touch on my key findings.

See our latest analysis for Associated British Foods

How Well Did ABF Perform?

ABF's trailing twelve-month earnings (from 02 March 2019) of UK£915m has declined by -12% compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, this one-year growth rate has been lower than its average earnings growth rate over the past 5 years of 12%, indicating the rate at which ABF is growing has slowed down. What could be happening here? Well, let’s take a look at what’s occurring with margins and whether the whole industry is experiencing the hit as well.

LSE:ABF Income Statement, May 11th 2019

In terms of returns from investment, Associated British Foods has fallen short of achieving a 20% return on equity (ROE), recording 10% instead. However, its return on assets (ROA) of 7.1% exceeds the GB Food industry of 5.2%, indicating Associated British Foods has used its assets more efficiently. And finally, its return on capital (ROC), which also accounts for Associated British Foods’s debt level, has increased over the past 3 years from 12% to 12%. This correlates with a decrease in debt holding, with debt-to-equity ratio declining from 18% to 8.6% over the past 5 years.

What does this mean?

Associated British Foods's track record can be a valuable insight into its earnings performance, but it certainly doesn't tell the whole story. Companies that are profitable, but have capricious earnings, can have many factors influencing its business. You should continue to research Associated British Foods to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ABF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ABF’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are ABF’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the trailing twelve months from 02 March 2019. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.