Augean plc's (LON:AUG) Stock Is Going Strong: Have Financials A Role To Play?

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

Most readers would already be aware that Augean's (LON:AUG) stock increased significantly by 31% over the past month. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on Augean's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Augean

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 Augean is:

22% = UK£13m ÷ UK£61m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every £1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn £0.22 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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.

Augean's Earnings Growth And 22% ROE

To begin with, Augean has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 8.6% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. For this reason, Augean's five year net income decline of 11% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn't translate into earnings growth. 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. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Augean's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 4.1% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
AIM:AUG Past Earnings Growth June 1st 2021

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. Is AUG fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Augean Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Augean doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that the company is keeping all of its profits, which makes us wonder why it is retaining its earnings if it can't use them to grow its business. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Augean has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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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