Are Genus plc's (LON:GNS) Fundamentals Good Enough to Warrant Buying Given The Stock's Recent Weakness?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 12, 2021
LSE:GNS
Source: Shutterstock

It is hard to get excited after looking at Genus' (LON:GNS) recent performance, when its stock has declined 4.0% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. Specifically, we decided to study Genus' ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Genus

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Genus is:

9.4% = UK£47m ÷ UK£497m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

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 £0.09 in profit.

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. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Genus' Earnings Growth And 9.4% ROE

To start with, Genus' ROE looks acceptable. Be that as it may, the company's ROE is still quite lower than the industry average of 14%. Moreover, Genus' net income shrunk at a rate of 4.6%over the past five years. Not to forget, the company does have a high ROE to begin with, just that it is lower than the industry average. Hence there might be some other aspects that are causing earnings to shrink. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Genus' performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 11% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
LSE:GNS Past Earnings Growth November 13th 2021

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Genus''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Genus Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

In spite of a normal three-year median payout ratio of 47% (that is, a retention ratio of 53%), the fact that Genus' earnings have shrunk is quite puzzling. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Moreover, Genus 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 31% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 13%, over the same period.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Genus has some positive attributes. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a respectable rate of return and is reinvesting a 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. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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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