Bodycote plc (LON:BOY) Stock's On A Decline: Are Poor Fundamentals The Cause?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 15, 2022
LSE:BOY
Source: Shutterstock

Bodycote (LON:BOY) has had a rough three months with its share price down 16%. Given that stock prices are usually driven by a company’s fundamentals over the long term, which in this case look pretty weak, we decided to study the company's key financial indicators. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Bodycote'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.

See our latest analysis for Bodycote

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Bodycote is:

5.2% = UK£35m ÷ UK£664m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.05.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Bodycote's Earnings Growth And 5.2% ROE

On the face of it, Bodycote's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. For this reason, Bodycote's five year net income decline of 20% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Bodycote's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 7.8% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
LSE:BOY Past Earnings Growth March 15th 2022

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. 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 Bodycote is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Bodycote Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Bodycote has a high three-year median payout ratio of 53% (that is, it is retaining 47% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Bodycote visit our risks dashboard for free.

In addition, Bodycote 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's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 39% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Bodycote's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 14%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Bodycote. As a result of its low ROE and lack of much reinvestment into the business, the company has seen a disappointing earnings growth rate. 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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