Stock Analysis

Vita Life Sciences Limited's (ASX:VLS) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

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ASX:VLS
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With its stock down 8.3% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Vita Life Sciences (ASX:VLS). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Specifically, we decided to study Vita Life Sciences' ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

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How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Vita Life Sciences is:

22% = AU$5.1m ÷ AU$23m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.22.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

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

Vita Life Sciences' Earnings Growth And 22% ROE

To start with, Vita Life Sciences' ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 21%. For this reason, Vita Life Sciences' five year net income decline of 7.3% raises the question as to why the decent ROE didn't translate into growth. So, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

From the 7.3% decline reported by the industry in the same period, we infer that Vita Life Sciences and its industry are both shrinking at a similar rate.

past-earnings-growth
ASX:VLS Past Earnings Growth November 20th 2020

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Vita Life Sciences fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Vita Life Sciences Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Vita Life Sciences has a high three-year median payout ratio of 72% (that is, it is retaining 28% 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. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Vita Life Sciences visit our risks dashboard for free.

Additionally, Vita Life Sciences 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.

Conclusion

Overall, we feel that Vita Life Sciences certainly does have some positive factors to consider. 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. So far, we've only made a quick discussion around the company's earnings growth. To gain further insights into Vita Life Sciences' past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.

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