BKW AG (VTX:BKW) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 20, 2021
SWX:BKW
Source: Shutterstock

BKW's (VTX:BKW) stock up by 6.2% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on BKW's ROE.

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

Check out our latest analysis for BKW

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 BKW is:

8.7% = CHF315m ÷ CHF3.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every CHF1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated CHF0.09 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. 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. 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 BKW's Earnings Growth And 8.7% ROE

To start with, BKW's ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 8.7%. Despite this, BKW's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that's limiting the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

As a next step, we compared BKW's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 8.6% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
SWX:BKW Past Earnings Growth January 21st 2021

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. What is BKW worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether BKW is currently mispriced by the market.

Is BKW Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 36% (implying that the company keeps 64% of its income) over the last three years, BKW has seen a negligible amount of growth in earnings as we saw above. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Additionally, BKW has paid dividends over a period of nine years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 40%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 8.1%.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that BKW has some positive attributes. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

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