Linedata Services S.A.'s (EPA:LIN) Stock Is Going Strong: Have Financials A Role To Play?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 31, 2021
ENXTPA:LIN
Source: Shutterstock

Linedata Services' (EPA:LIN) stock is up by a considerable 10% over the past three months. 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. In this article, we decided to focus on Linedata Services' ROE.

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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Linedata Services

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Linedata Services is:

17% = €20m ÷ €121m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each €1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made €0.17 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. 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.

Linedata Services' Earnings Growth And 17% ROE

To start with, Linedata Services' ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 10%. As you might expect, the 7.9% net income decline reported by Linedata Services is a bit of a surprise. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

However, when we compared Linedata Services' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 5.8% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
ENXTPA:LIN Past Earnings Growth June 1st 2021

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is LIN worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether LIN is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Linedata Services Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 45% (or a retention ratio of 55%) which is pretty normal, Linedata Services' declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Moreover, Linedata Services 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 45% of its profits over the next three years. As a result, Linedata Services' ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 14% for future ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we feel that Linedata Services certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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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