Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ:CENX)?
With its stock down 23% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENX). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Century Aluminum's ROE today.
ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
View our latest analysis for Century Aluminum
How Do You 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 Century Aluminum is:
12% = US$60m ÷ US$479m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.12.
Why Is ROE Important For 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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Century Aluminum's Earnings Growth And 12% ROE
To begin with, Century Aluminum seems to have a respectable ROE. Even so, when compared with the average industry ROE of 21%, we aren't very excited. Needless to say, the 14% net income shrink rate seen by Century Aluminumover the past five years is a huge dampener. Bear in mind, the company does have a high ROE. It is just that the industry ROE is higher. Hence there might be some other aspects that are causing earnings to shrink. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
However, when we compared Century Aluminum's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 28% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Century Aluminum's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is Century Aluminum Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Because Century Aluminum doesn't pay any dividends, we infer that it is retaining all of its profits, which is rather perplexing when you consider the fact that there is no earnings growth to show for it. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
Overall, we feel that Century Aluminum certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a moderate ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
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