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Has Iluka Resources Limited's (ASX:ILU) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

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·4 min read
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Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 26% over the last three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Iluka Resources' 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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Iluka Resources

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 Iluka Resources is:

8.0% = AU$104m ÷ AU$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 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$0.08 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned 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. 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 Iluka Resources' Earnings Growth And 8.0% ROE

At first glance, Iluka Resources' ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 15%. Although, we can see that Iluka Resources saw a modest net income growth of 5.9% over the past five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Iluka Resources' reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 28% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is ILU worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ILU is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Iluka Resources Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

In Iluka Resources' case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 20% (or a retention ratio of 80%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Moreover, Iluka Resources 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. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 39% over the next three years. Regardless, the future ROE for Iluka Resources is speculated to rise to 15% despite the anticipated increase in the payout ratio. There could probably be other factors that could be driving the future growth in the ROE.

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Iluka Resources has some positive attributes. That is, a decent growth in earnings backed by a high rate of reinvestment. However, we do feel that that earnings growth could have been higher if the business were to improve on the low ROE rate. Especially given how the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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 (at) simplywallst.com.