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Computacenter plc's (LON:CCC) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

Most readers would already be aware that Computacenter's (LON:CCC) stock increased significantly by 6.4% over the past week. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Specifically, we decided to study Computacenter's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Computacenter

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

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

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

20% = UK£116m ÷ UK£572m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.20.

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. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

A Side By Side comparison of Computacenter's Earnings Growth And 20% ROE

At first glance, Computacenter seems to have a decent ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 10.0% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Despite this, Computacenter's five year net income growth was quite low averaging at only 3.3%. That's a bit unexpected from a company which has such a high rate of return. Such a scenario is likely to take place when a company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

We then compared Computacenter's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 16% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. If you're wondering about Computacenter's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Computacenter Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 39% (or a retention ratio of 61% over the past three years, Computacenter has seen very little growth in earnings as we saw above. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, Computacenter has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 39%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Computacenter's future ROE will be 18% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we feel that Computacenter certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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@simplywallst.com.