Hastings Group Holdings plc (LON:HSTG) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financials Look Strong: Should Prospective Shareholders Make The Leap?

Hastings Group Holdings (LON:HSTG) has had a rough week with its share price down 7.6%. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. Specifically, we decided to study Hastings Group Holdings’ ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder’s equity.

View our latest analysis for Hastings Group Holdings

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Hastings Group Holdings is:

11% = UK£70m ÷ UK£642m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

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 £0.11.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we’ve learnt 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 all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don’t have the same features.

Hastings Group Holdings’ Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

To start with, Hastings Group Holdings’ ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 12%. This certainly adds some context to Hastings Group Holdings’ exceptional 36% net income growth seen over the past five years. However, there could also be other drivers behind this growth. For example, it is possible that the company’s management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

We then compared Hastings Group Holdings’ net income growth with the industry and we’re pleased to see that the company’s growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 11% in the same period.

LSE:HSTG Past Earnings Growth May 4th 2020
LSE:HSTG Past Earnings Growth May 4th 2020

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. What is HSTG worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether HSTG is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Hastings Group Holdings Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Hastings Group Holdings’ significant three-year median payout ratio of 79% (where it is retaining only 21% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Moreover, Hastings Group Holdings is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of four years of paying a dividend. Upon studying the latest analysts’ consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 74% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Hastings Group Holdings’ future ROE will rise to 16% even though the the company’s payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

In total, we are pretty happy with Hastings Group Holdings’ performance. Especially the high ROE, Which has contributed to the impressive growth seen in earnings. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. Having said that, the company’s earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company’s fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst’s forecasts page 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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