U.S. Markets closed

Cochlear Limited's (ASX:COH) Stock's On An Uptrend: Are Strong Financials Guiding The Market?

Simply Wall St

Cochlear's's (ASX:COH) stock is up by a considerable 13% over the past three months. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Cochlear's ROE.

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Cochlear

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

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

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

38% = AU$306m ÷ AU$806m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every A$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A$0.38 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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.

Cochlear's Earnings Growth And 38% ROE

Firstly, we acknowledge that Cochlear has a significantly high ROE. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 10% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. Probably as a result of this, Cochlear was able to see a decent net income growth of 15% over the last five years.

We then compared Cochlear's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 12% in the same period.

ASX:COH Past Earnings Growth June 16th 2020

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. What is COH worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether COH is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Cochlear Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

While Cochlear has a three-year median payout ratio of 69% (which means it retains 31% of profits), the company has still seen a fair bit of earnings growth in the past, meaning that its high payout ratio hasn't hampered its ability to grow.

Moreover, Cochlear is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 60%. Still, forecasts suggest that Cochlear's future ROE will drop to 27% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that Cochlear's performance has been quite good. We are particularly impressed by the considerable earnings growth posted by the company, which was likely backed by its high ROE. While the company is paying out most of its earnings as dividends, it has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's probably a good sign. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. 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. Thank you for reading.