# Does The Market Have A Low Tolerance For Safran SA's (EPA:SAF) Mixed Fundamentals?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 10, 2022

Safran (EPA:SAF) has had a rough three months with its share price down 15%. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Safran's ROE in this article.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Safran

### How To 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 Safran is:

0.5% = €68m ÷ €13b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every €1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated €0.01 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

### Safran's Earnings Growth And 0.5% ROE

It is quite clear that Safran's ROE is rather low. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 11%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 27% seen by Safran was possibly a result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, the business has allocated capital poorly, or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

Next, when we compared with the industry, which has shrunk its earnings at a rate of 2.8% in the same period, we still found Safran's performance to be quite bleak, because the company has been shrinking its earnings faster than the industry.

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Safran fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

### Is Safran Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 36% (where it is retaining 64% of its profits), Safran has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

In addition, Safran 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 40% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Safran's future ROE will rise to 18% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

### Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Safran can be open to many interpretations. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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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