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Is Aviva plc's (LON:AV.) Stock's Recent Performance A Reflection Of Its Financial Health?

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Aviva's (LON:AV.) stock is up by 6.8% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term financial health, we decided to study the company’s fundamentals to see if they could be influencing the market. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Aviva's ROE today.

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.

See our latest analysis for Aviva

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

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

9.9% = UK£2.0b ÷ UK£21b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every £1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn £0.10 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

Aviva's Earnings Growth And 9.9% ROE

To begin with, Aviva seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.9%. This certainly adds some context to Aviva's exceptional 28% net income growth seen over the past five years. However, there could also be other drivers behind this growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Aviva's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 6.5% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for AV.? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Aviva Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Aviva has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 57%, meaning the company only retains 43% of its income. This implies that the company has been able to achieve high earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Besides, Aviva has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 52%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 8.5%.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that Aviva's performance has been quite good. In particular, its high ROE is quite noteworthy and also the probable explanation behind its considerable earnings growth. Yet, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Which means that the company has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's not too bad. 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. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

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.