Iberdrola (BME:IBE) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 11% over the last month. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Iberdrola's ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for return on equity is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Iberdrola is:
8.4% = €4.0b ÷ €47b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each €1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made €0.08 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.
Iberdrola's Earnings Growth And 8.4% ROE
At first glance, Iberdrola's ROE doesn't look very promising. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 8.6%, we may spare it some thought. On the other hand, Iberdrola reported a moderate 8.4% net income growth over the past five years. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Iberdrola's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 1.1% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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 Iberdrola is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Iberdrola Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
While Iberdrola has a three-year median payout ratio of 74% (which means it retains 26% of profits), the company has still seen a fair bit of earnings growth in the past, meaning that its high payout ratio hasn't hampered its ability to grow.
Besides, Iberdrola has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 72%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Iberdrola's future ROE will be 9.9% which is again, similar to the current ROE.
On the whole, we do feel that Iberdrola has some positive attributes. Namely, its high earnings growth. We do however feel that the earnings growth number could have been even higher, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings and paid out less dividends. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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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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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