Stock Analysis

Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Deutsche Wohnen SE (ETR:DWNI)?

XTRA:DWNI
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It is hard to get excited after looking at Deutsche Wohnen's (ETR:DWNI) recent performance, when its stock has declined 5.7% over the past three months. 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Deutsche Wohnen's ROE today.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. 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 Deutsche Wohnen

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 Deutsche Wohnen is:

10% = €1.3b ÷ €13b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every €1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated €0.10 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.

Deutsche Wohnen's Earnings Growth And 10% ROE

At first glance, Deutsche Wohnen seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.2%. Despite the moderate return on equity, Deutsche Wohnen has posted a net income growth of 3.2% over the past five years. A few likely reasons that could be keeping earnings growth low are - the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Deutsche Wohnen's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 14% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
XTRA:DWNI Past Earnings Growth February 19th 2021

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. 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 Deutsche Wohnen is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Deutsche Wohnen Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

A low three-year median payout ratio of 17% (implying that the company retains the remaining 83% of its income) suggests that Deutsche Wohnen is retaining most of its profits. However, the low earnings growth number doesn't reflect this fact. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.

Moreover, Deutsche Wohnen has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 68% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Deutsche Wohnen's future ROE will rise to 13% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Deutsche Wohnen has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings to shrink. 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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