Stock Analysis

# Are Capral Limited's (ASX:CAA) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

It is hard to get excited after looking at Capral's (ASX:CAA) recent performance, when its stock has declined 13% over the past month. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. Specifically, we decided to study Capral's ROE in this article.

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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Capral

### 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 Capral is:

9.2% = AU\$9.0m ÷ AU\$97m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every A\$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A\$0.09 in profit.

### What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.

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

On the face of it, Capral's ROE is not much to talk about. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 13%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 11% seen by Capral was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared Capral's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 32% in the same period.

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Capral is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

### Is Capral Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

In spite of a normal three-year median payout ratio of 50% (that is, a retention ratio of 50%), the fact that Capral's earnings have shrunk is quite puzzling. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.

Additionally, Capral has paid dividends over a period of four years, which means that the company's management is rather focused on keeping up its dividend payments, regardless of the shrinking earnings.

### Conclusion

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Capral. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. Wrapping up, we would proceed with caution with this company and one way of doing that would be to look at the risk profile of the business. Our risks dashboard would have the 4 risks we have identified for Capral.

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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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