Guangdong Investment's (HKG:270) stock up by 3.2% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Specifically, we decided to study Guangdong Investment's ROE in this article.
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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
How To Calculate Return On Equity?
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 Guangdong Investment is:
11% = HK$5.4b ÷ HK$51b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every HK$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of HK$0.11.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learnt that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.
Guangdong Investment's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE
To start with, Guangdong Investment's ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 9.5%. Consequently, this likely laid the ground for the decent growth of 5.5% seen over the past five years by Guangdong Investment.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Guangdong Investment's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 9.0% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Has the market priced in the future outlook for 270? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Guangdong Investment Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Guangdong Investment has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 52%, meaning that it is left with only 48% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.
Additionally, Guangdong Investment has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 75% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Guangdong Investment's future ROE will rise to 13% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.
Overall, we feel that Guangdong Investment certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Its earnings have grown respectably as we saw earlier, which was likely due to the company reinvesting its earnings at a pretty high rate of return. However, given the high ROE, we do think that the company is reinvesting a small portion of its profits. This could likely be preventing the company from growing to its full extent. 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.
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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.