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Are Poor Financial Prospects Dragging Down Elica S.p.A. (BIT:ELC Stock?

Simply Wall St

With its stock down 19% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Elica (BIT:ELC). To decide if this trend could continue, we decided to look at its weak fundamentals as they shape the long-term market trends. Specifically, we decided to study Elica's ROE in this article.

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.

See our latest analysis for Elica

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 Elica is:

5.9% = €7.4m ÷ €125m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each €1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made €0.06 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learnt 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 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.

Elica's Earnings Growth And 5.9% ROE

On the face of it, Elica'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 13% either. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 24% seen by Elica over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

That being said, we compared Elica'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 10% in the same period.

BIT:ELC Past Earnings Growth May 16th 2020

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. 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 ELC? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Elica Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Elica has a high three-year median payout ratio of 55% (that is, it is retaining 45% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Elica visit our risks dashboard for free.

Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 24% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Elica's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 12%, over the same period.

Conclusion

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Elica. 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. 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. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.