Stock Analysis

# Are Robust Financials Driving The Recent Rally In SMU S.A.'s (SNSE:SMU) Stock?

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Most readers would already be aware that SMU's (SNSE:SMU) stock increased significantly by 32% over the past three months. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. In this article, we decided to focus on SMU'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 SMU

## How Do You 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 SMU is:

16% = CL\$127b ÷ CL\$780b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every CLP1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn CLP0.16 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. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

## SMU's Earnings Growth And 16% ROE

To begin with, SMU seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 10% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. This probably laid the ground for SMU's significant 33% net income growth seen over the past five years. We believe that there might also be other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

As a next step, we compared SMU's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 12%.

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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 SMU is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

## Is SMU Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

The high three-year median payout ratio of 77% (implying that it keeps only 23% of profits) for SMU suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of the earnings to its shareholders.

Moreover, SMU is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of four years of paying a dividend. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 62% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the lower expected payout ratio.

## Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with SMU's performance. We are particularly impressed by the considerable earnings growth posted by the company, which was likely backed by its high ROE. While the company is paying out most of its earnings as dividends, it has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's probably a good sign. Until now, we have only just grazed the surface of the company's past performance by looking at the company's fundamentals. So it may be worth checking this free detailed graph of SMU's past earnings, as well as revenue and cash flows to get a deeper insight into the company's performance.

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