Can Medibank Private Limited (ASX:MPL) Performance Keep Up Given Its Mixed Bag Of Fundamentals?
Most readers would already know that Medibank Private's (ASX:MPL) stock increased by 8.5% over the past three months. Given that the stock prices usually follow long-term business performance, we wonder if the company's mixed financials could have any adverse effect on its current price price movement In this article, we decided to focus on Medibank Private's ROE.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
Check out our latest analysis for Medibank Private
How Is ROE Calculated?
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 Medibank Private is:
21% = AU$407m ÷ AU$2.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated A$0.21 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.
Medibank Private's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE
To start with, Medibank Private's ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 7.8% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Despite this, Medibank Private's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. 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. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.
We then compared Medibank Private's net income growth with the industry and found that the average industry growth rate was 7.3% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for MPL? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Medibank Private Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
With a high three-year median payout ratio of 92% (implying that the company keeps only 8.1% of its income) of its business to reinvest into its business), most of Medibank Private's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the absence of growth in earnings.
Moreover, Medibank Private has been paying dividends for eight years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 83%. However, Medibank Private's ROE is predicted to rise to 25% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Medibank Private's performance. In spite of the high ROE, the company has failed to see growth in its earnings due to it paying out most of its profits as dividend, with almost nothing left to invest into its own business. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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. 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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