Stock Analysis

# Has Anglo American plc's (LON:AAL) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

Anglo American (LON:AAL) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 10% over the last three months. 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 Anglo American'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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

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## How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Anglo American is:

9.5% = US\$3.2b ÷ US\$33b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2023).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.09.

## 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 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.

## Anglo American's Earnings Growth And 9.5% ROE

On the face of it, Anglo American's ROE is not much to talk about. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.8%. On the other hand, Anglo American reported a moderate 11% net income growth over the past five years. Taking into consideration that the ROE is not particularly high, we reckon that there could also be other factors at play which could be influencing the company's growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Anglo American's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 18% over the last few years, which is not something we like to see.

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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. 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 Anglo American is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

## Is Anglo American Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Anglo American has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 46% (or a retention ratio of 54%) and a respectable amount of growth in earnings as we saw above, meaning that the company has been making efficient use of its profits.

Additionally, Anglo American 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 39%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 11%.

## Conclusion

In total, it does look like Anglo American has some positive aspects to its business. Specifically, its fairly high earnings growth number, which no doubt was backed by the company's high earnings retention. Still, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping a lot of benefit to the investors. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.