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BlueScope Steel Limited's (ASX:BSL) Has Had A Decent Run On The Stock market: Are Fundamentals In The Driver's Seat?

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

BlueScope Steel's (ASX:BSL) stock up by 7.4% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study BlueScope Steel's ROE in this article.

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.

See our latest analysis for BlueScope Steel

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 BlueScope Steel is:

1.8% = AU$128m ÷ AU$7.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.02.

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. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

BlueScope Steel's Earnings Growth And 1.8% ROE

As you can see, BlueScope Steel's ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 12%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. However, the moderate 19% net income growth seen by BlueScope Steel over the past five years is definitely a positive. We believe that there might be other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that BlueScope Steel's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 34% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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

Is BlueScope Steel Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In BlueScope Steel's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 7.3% (or a retention ratio of 93%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Besides, BlueScope Steel has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 14% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that BlueScope Steel's future ROE will rise to 8.4% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we feel that BlueScope Steel certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Specifically, its fairly high earnings growth number, which no doubt was backed by the company's high earnings retention. Still, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping a lot of benefit to the investors. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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@simplywallst.com.