Has Brambles Limited's (ASX:BXB) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 27, 2020
ASX:BXB

Brambles (ASX:BXB) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 11% over the last month. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Brambles' ROE today.

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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Brambles

How To 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 Brambles is:

17% = US$477m ÷ US$2.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.17.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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 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.

Brambles' Earnings Growth And 17% ROE

To begin with, Brambles seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 14% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. As you might expect, the 5.4% net income decline reported by Brambles is a bit of a surprise. Therefore, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

So, as a next step, we compared Brambles' performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 4.5% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
ASX:BXB Past Earnings Growth November 27th 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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Brambles''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Brambles Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Brambles has a high three-year median payout ratio of 65% (that is, it is retaining 35% 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 very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for Brambles by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Additionally, Brambles has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 65%. However, Brambles' ROE is predicted to rise to 23% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like Brambles has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE. Bear in mind, the company reinvests a small portion of its profits, which means that investors aren't reaping the benefits of the high 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 company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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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.
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