Stock Analysis

Bunzl plc's (LON:BNZL) Stock Is Going Strong: Is the Market Following Fundamentals?

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LSE:BNZL
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Bunzl (LON:BNZL) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 8.4% over the last month. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Bunzl's ROE today.

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Bunzl

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 Bunzl is:

19% = UK£453m ÷ UK£2.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.19 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.

Bunzl's Earnings Growth And 19% ROE

To begin with, Bunzl seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 14% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. This certainly adds some context to Bunzl's decent 9.9% net income growth seen over the past five years.

Next, on comparing Bunzl's net income growth with the industry, we found that the company's reported growth is similar to the industry average growth rate of 9.9% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
LSE:BNZL Past Earnings Growth November 30th 2022

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. 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 Bunzl is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Bunzl Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Bunzl has a three-year median payout ratio of 43%, which implies that it retains the remaining 57% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.

Additionally, Bunzl 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. 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 37%. As a result, Bunzl's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 21% for future ROE.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that Bunzl's performance has been quite good. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. 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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