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Oxford Metrics plc's (LON:OMG) Stock Been Rising But Financials Look Weak: Should Shareholders Be Worried?

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Oxford Metrics' (LON:OMG) stock is up by 5.4% over the past three months. Given that the markets usually pay for the long-term financial health of a company, we wonder if the current momentum in the share price will keep up, given that the company's financials don't look very promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Oxford Metrics' ROE today.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Oxford Metrics

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Oxford Metrics is:

5.2% = UK£1.6m ÷ UK£31m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.05.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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. 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.

Oxford Metrics' Earnings Growth And 5.2% ROE

At first glance, Oxford Metrics' ROE doesn't look very promising. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 13% either. For this reason, Oxford Metrics' five year net income decline of 13% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

That being said, we compared Oxford Metrics' 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 13% in the same period.

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 Oxford Metrics is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Oxford Metrics Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Oxford Metrics' 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 54% (or a retention ratio of 46%). With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Oxford Metrics visit our risks dashboard for free.

Moreover, Oxford Metrics 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. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 65% over the next three years.

Summary

On the whole, Oxford Metrics' performance is quite a big let-down. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. Up till now, we've only made a short study of the company's growth data. To gain further insights into Oxford Metrics' past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.

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.