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The Character Group plc's (LON:CCT) Stock Going Strong But Fundamentals Look Weak: What Implications Could This Have On The Stock?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Most readers would already be aware that Character Group's (LON:CCT) stock increased significantly by 23% over the past three months. We, however wanted to have a closer look at its key financial indicators as the markets usually pay for long-term fundamentals, and in this case, they don't look very promising. Specifically, we decided to study Character Group's ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Character Group

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 Character Group is:

8.8% = UK£3.0m ÷ UK£34m (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.09 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.

Character Group's Earnings Growth And 8.8% ROE

On the face of it, Character Group's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 16% either. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 10% seen by Character Group was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Character Group's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 8.2% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Character Group's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Character Group Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 51% (implying that 49% of the profits are retained), most of Character Group's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the company's shrinking earnings. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent. You can see the 4 risks we have identified for Character Group by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Additionally, Character Group has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth.

Conclusion

On the whole, Character Group's performance is quite a big let-down. 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. So far, we've only made a quick discussion around the company's earnings growth. To gain further insights into Character Group's past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.

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.