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Vicinity Centres' (ASX:VCX) Stock Financial Prospects Look Bleak: Should Shareholders Be Prepared For A Share Price Correction?

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Vicinity Centres' (ASX:VCX) stock is up by 7.5% over the past three months. However, its weak financial performance indicators makes us a bit doubtful if that trend could continue. In this article, we decided to focus on Vicinity Centres' ROE.

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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

See our latest analysis for Vicinity Centres

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Vicinity Centres is:

7.5% = AU$786m ÷ AU$11b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.07 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.

Vicinity Centres' Earnings Growth And 7.5% ROE

At first glance, Vicinity Centres' 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 15% either. For this reason, Vicinity Centres' five year net income decline of 53% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

That being said, we compared Vicinity Centres' 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 11% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. Is VCX fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Vicinity Centres Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Vicinity Centres has a very high three-year median payout ratio of 90%, implying that it retains only 10% of its profits. However, it's not unusual to see a REIT with such a high payout ratio mainly due to statutory requirements. Accordingly, this likely explains why its earnings have been shrinking.

In addition, Vicinity Centres has been paying dividends over a period of seven years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 82%. Regardless, Vicinity Centres' ROE is speculated to decline to 5.9% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Vicinity Centres. Because the company is not reinvesting much into the business, and given the low ROE, it's not surprising to see the lack or absence of growth in its earnings. With that said, we studied current analyst estimates and discovered that analysts expect the company's earnings growth to improve slightly. Sure enough, this could bring some relief to shareholders. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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.

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