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Pets at Home Group Plc (LON:PETS) Stock's On A Decline: Are Poor Fundamentals The Cause?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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With its stock down 5.4% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard at Home Group (LON:PETS). Given that stock prices are usually driven by a company’s fundamentals over the long term, which in this case look pretty weak, we decided to study the company's key financial indicators. Particularly, we will be paying attention to at Home Group'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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for at Home Group

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 at Home Group is:

7.7% = UK£73m ÷ UK£940m (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2020).

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

at Home Group's Earnings Growth And 7.7% ROE

On the face of it, at Home Group's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. For this reason, at Home Group's five year net income decline of 7.1% 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.

Furthermore, even when compared to the industry, which has been shrinking its earnings at a rate 1.9% in the same period, we found that at Home Group's performance is pretty disappointing, as it suggests that the company has been shrunk its earnings at a rate faster than the industry.

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is at Home Group fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is at Home Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 64% (implying that 36% of the profits are retained), most of at Home Group's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the company's shrinking earnings. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for at Home Group.

In addition, at Home Group has been paying dividends over a period of six years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 45% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the lower expected payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning at Home Group. 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. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

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.