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DWS Limited's (ASX:DWS) Financials Are Too Obscure To Link With Current Share Price Momentum: What's In Store For the Stock?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

Most readers would already be aware that DWS' (ASX:DWS) stock increased significantly by 32% over the past three months. However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. Specifically, we decided to study DWS' 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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for DWS

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 DWS is:

11% = AU$7.5m ÷ AU$69m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.11 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

DWS' Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

To start with, DWS' ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 10.0%. As you might expect, the 9.0% net income decline reported by DWS is a bit of a surprise. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. 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 DWS' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 21% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about DWS''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is DWS Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

DWS has a high three-year median payout ratio of 95% (that is, it is retaining 4.8% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run. To know the 4 risks we have identified for DWS visit our risks dashboard for free.

In addition, DWS 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.

Summary

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about DWS' performance. While the company does have a high rate of return, its low earnings retention is probably what's hampering its earnings growth. Until now, we have only just grazed the surface of the company's past performance by looking at the company's fundamentals. You can do your own research on DWS and see how it has performed in the past by looking at this FREE detailed graph 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@simplywallst.com.