Could The Market Be Wrong About Saputo Inc. (TSE:SAP) Given Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

Saputo (TSE:SAP) has had a rough three months with its share price down 17%. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. In this article, we decided to focus on Saputo’s ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Put another way, it reveals the company’s success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Saputo

How Do You 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 Saputo is:

10% = CA$618m ÷ CA$6.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

The ‘return’ refers to a company’s earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every CA$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn CA$0.10 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learnt 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.

Saputo’s Earnings Growth And 10% ROE

To start with, Saputo’s ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company’s ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 7.0%. This certainly adds some context to Saputo’s decent 5.4% net income growth seen over the past five years.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Saputo’s reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 17% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

TSX:SAP Past Earnings Growth April 28th 2020
TSX:SAP Past Earnings Growth April 28th 2020

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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is SAP fairly valued? This infographic on the company’s intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Saputo Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Saputo has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 34% (or a retention ratio of 66%) and a respectable amount of growth in earnings as we saw above, meaning that the company has been making efficient use of its profits.

Moreover, Saputo is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Based on the latest analysts’ estimates, we found that the company’s future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 35%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Saputo’s future ROE will be 12% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Saputo’s performance. In particular, it’s great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a respectable growth in its earnings. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company’s earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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.

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