Are Robust Financials Driving The Recent Rally In Macfarlane Group PLC's (LON:MACF) Stock?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 19, 2021
LSE:MACF
Source: Shutterstock

Macfarlane Group (LON:MACF) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 43% over the last three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term fundamentals, we decided to study the company’s key performance indicators to see if they could be influencing the market. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Macfarlane Group's ROE today.

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.

See our latest analysis for Macfarlane Group

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 Macfarlane Group is:

13% = UK£10m ÷ UK£80m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every £1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated £0.13 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.

Macfarlane Group's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To begin with, Macfarlane Group seems to have a respectable ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 12% the company's ROE looks quite decent. Consequently, this likely laid the ground for the decent growth of 13% seen over the past five years by Macfarlane Group.

As a next step, we compared Macfarlane Group's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 5.4%.

past-earnings-growth
LSE:MACF Past Earnings Growth May 20th 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). 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 Macfarlane Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Macfarlane Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Macfarlane Group has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 40% (or a retention ratio of 60%) and a respectable amount of growth in earnings as we saw above, meaning that the company has been making efficient use of its profits.

Moreover, Macfarlane Group is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 32% over the next three years.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that Macfarlane Group's performance has been quite good. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a sizeable growth in its earnings. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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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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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