Stock Analysis

Are Villars Holding S.A.'s (VTX:VILN) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

SWX:VILN
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With its stock down 2.0% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Villars Holding (VTX:VILN). It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Villars Holding's ROE today.

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

View our latest analysis for Villars Holding

How Is ROE Calculated?

ROE 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 Villars Holding is:

1.6% = CHF1.4m ÷ CHF88m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every CHF1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated CHF0.02 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

Villars Holding's Earnings Growth And 1.6% ROE

As you can see, Villars Holding's ROE looks pretty weak. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 9.0%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. For this reason, Villars Holding's five year net income decline of 11% is not surprising given its 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.

However, when we compared Villars Holding's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 6.8% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
SWX:VILN Past Earnings Growth February 20th 2021

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). 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 Villars Holding is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Villars Holding Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 41% (where it is retaining 59% of its profits), Villars Holding has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, Villars Holding 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.

Summary

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Villars Holding. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. 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. You can see the 2 risks we have identified for Villars Holding by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

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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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