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Can MACA Limited's (ASX:MLD) Weak Financials Pull The Plug On The Stock's Current Momentum On Its Share Price?

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·4 min read
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MACA (ASX:MLD) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 40% over the last month. However, we decided to pay close attention to its weak financials as we are doubtful that the current momentum will keep up, given the scenario. In this article, we decided to focus on MACA's ROE.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for MACA

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

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

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

8.3% = AU$33m ÷ AU$395m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every A$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A$0.08 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. 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 MACA's Earnings Growth And 8.3% ROE

At first glance, MACA's ROE doesn't look very promising. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 16%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. For this reason, MACA's five year net income decline of 12% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

So, as a next step, we compared MACA's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 25% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is MACA fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is MACA Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

MACA's declining earnings is not surprising given how the company is spending most of its profits in paying dividends, judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 59% (or a retention ratio of 41%). 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 2 risks we have identified for MACA visit our risks dashboard for free.

Moreover, MACA has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 40% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 12%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on MACA. As a result of its low ROE and lack of much reinvestment into the business, the company has seen a disappointing earnings growth rate. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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