Do Its Financials Have Any Role To Play In Driving Metcash Limited's (ASX:MTS) Stock Up Recently?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 06, 2021
ASX:MTS

Most readers would already be aware that Metcash's (ASX:MTS) stock increased significantly by 19% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Metcash's ROE.

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.

View our latest analysis for Metcash

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Metcash is:

16% = AU$221m ÷ AU$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.16 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

Metcash's Earnings Growth And 16% ROE

At first glance, Metcash seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 13%. Yet, Metcash has posted measly growth of 3.7% over the past five years. This is interesting as the high returns should mean that the company has the ability to generate high growth but for some reason, it hasn't been able to do so. A few likely reasons why this could happen is that the company could have a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

We then compared Metcash's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 6.3% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
ASX:MTS Past Earnings Growth January 6th 2021

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Metcash fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Metcash Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 54% (or a retention ratio of 46%), most of Metcash's profits are being paid to shareholders. This definitely contributes to the low earnings growth seen by the company.

Moreover, Metcash has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 67% over the next three years. Despite the higher expected payout ratio, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like Metcash has some positive aspects to its business. However, while the company does have a high ROE, its earnings growth number is quite disappointing. This can be blamed on the fact that it reinvests only a small portion of its profits and pays out the rest as dividends. Having said that, on studying current analyst estimates, we were concerned to see that while the company has grown its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to shrink in the future. 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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