Personal Group Holdings Plc's (LON:PGH) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 12, 2020

Personal Group Holdings (LON:PGH) has had a rough month with its share price down 11%. However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on Personal Group Holdings' 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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Personal Group Holdings

How Is ROE Calculated?

ROE 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 Personal Group Holdings is:

22% = UK£8.7m ÷ UK£39m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.22 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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 all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.

Personal Group Holdings' Earnings Growth And 22% ROE

Firstly, we acknowledge that Personal Group Holdings has a significantly high ROE. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 12% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. As you might expect, the 4.7% net income decline reported by Personal Group Holdings doesn't bode well with us. 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. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared Personal Group Holdings' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 12% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

AIM:PGH Past Earnings Growth October 12th 2020

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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. 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 Personal Group Holdings is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Personal Group Holdings Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Personal Group Holdings' declining earnings is not surprising given how the company is spending most of its profits in paying dividends, judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 82% (or a retention ratio of 18%). The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for Personal Group Holdings.

Moreover, Personal Group Holdings 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.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Personal Group Holdings has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return. Investors could have benefitted from the high ROE, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings. As discussed earlier, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Up till now, we've only made a short study of the company's growth data. To gain further insights into Personal Group Holdings' past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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