Is L'Air Liquide S.A.'s (EPA:AI) Recent Performance Tethered To Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 24, 2022
ENXTPA:AI
Source: Shutterstock

L'Air Liquide's (EPA:AI) stock up by 8.6% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term financial health, we decided to study the company’s fundamentals to see if they could be influencing the market. In this article, we decided to focus on L'Air Liquide'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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for L'Air Liquide

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 L'Air Liquide is:

14% = €2.7b ÷ €20b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every €1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of €0.14.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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.

L'Air Liquide's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

At first glance, L'Air Liquide seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 9.1% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This probably laid the ground for L'Air Liquide's moderate 5.7% net income growth seen over the past five years.

As a next step, we compared L'Air Liquide'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 1.1%.

past-earnings-growth
ENXTPA:AI Past Earnings Growth January 24th 2022

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. What is AI worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether AI is currently mispriced by the market.

Is L'Air Liquide Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

While L'Air Liquide has a three-year median payout ratio of 53% (which means it retains 47% 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.

Additionally, L'Air Liquide has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 50% of its profits over the next three years. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 15%.

Summary

Overall, we are quite pleased with L'Air Liquide'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. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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