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Can Orora Limited (ASX:ORA) Performance Keep Up Given Its Mixed Bag Of Fundamentals?

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Orora's (ASX:ORA) stock is up by 9.7% over the past three months. However, we decided to study the company's mixed-bag of fundamentals to assess what this could mean for future share prices, as stock prices tend to be aligned with a company's long-term financial performance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Orora's 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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for Orora

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Orora is:

19% = AU$148m ÷ AU$786m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every A$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A$0.19 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 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 Orora's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE

To begin with, Orora seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 9.4% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Needless to say, we are quite surprised to see that Orora's net income shrunk at a rate of 17% 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.

That being said, we compared Orora's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 7.9% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Orora is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Orora Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Orora's very high three-year median payout ratio of 138% over the last three years suggests that the company is paying its shareholders more than what it is earning and this explains the company's shrinking earnings. Its usually very hard to sustain dividend payments that are higher than reported profits. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for Orora.

Additionally, Orora has paid dividends over a period of eight years, which means that the company's management is rather focused on keeping up its dividend payments, regardless of the shrinking earnings. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 76% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 27% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Orora's performance. While the company does have a high rate of return, its low earnings retention is probably what's hampering its earnings growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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.