Adbri Limited's (ASX:ABC) Has Been On A Rise But Financial Prospects Look Weak: Is The Stock Overpriced?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 17, 2022
ASX:ABC
Source: Shutterstock

Adbri's (ASX:ABC) stock is up by a considerable 15% over the past three months. However, we decided to pay close attention to its weak financials as we are doubtful that the current momentum will keep up, given the scenario. Specifically, we decided to study Adbri's ROE in this article.

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Adbri

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 Adbri is:

9.2% = AU$117m ÷ AU$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the profit 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$0.09 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Adbri's Earnings Growth And 9.2% ROE

At first glance, Adbri's ROE doesn't look very promising. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 11%. But then again, Adbri's five year net income shrunk at a rate of 17%. Remember, the company's ROE is a bit low to begin with. So that's what might be causing earnings growth to shrink.

Furthermore, even when compared to the industry, which has been shrinking its earnings at a rate 10% in the same period, we found that Adbri's performance is pretty disappointing, as it suggests that the company has been shrunk its earnings at a rate faster than the industry.

past-earnings-growth
ASX:ABC Past Earnings Growth March 17th 2022

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. Is Adbri fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Adbri Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Adbri has a high three-year median payout ratio of 70% (that is, it is retaining 30% 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. The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run.

In addition, Adbri has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 68% of its profits over the next three years. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 11%.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Adbri. As a result of its low ROE and lack of much reinvestment into the business, the company has seen a disappointing earnings growth rate. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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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