Stock Analysis

# Is First Derivatives plc's (LON:FDP) Stock Price Struggling As A Result Of Its Mixed Financials?

First Derivatives (LON:FDP) has had a rough three months with its share price down 7.0%. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. Specifically, we decided to study First Derivatives' 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.

See our latest analysis for First Derivatives

### How Do You 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 First Derivatives is:

8.3% = UK£14m ÷ UK£173m (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.08 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. 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 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.

### A Side By Side comparison of First Derivatives' Earnings Growth And 8.3% ROE

At first glance, First Derivatives' ROE doesn't look very promising. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 8.3%. Even so, First Derivatives has shown a fairly decent growth in its net income which grew at a rate of 8.2%. 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. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

We then compared First Derivatives' net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 12% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about First Derivatives''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

### Is First Derivatives Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

While the company did pay out a portion of its dividend in the past, it currently doesn't pay a dividend. We infer that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits to grow its business.

Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 34% over the next three years. Despite the lower expected payout ratio, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much.

### Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by First Derivatives can be open to many interpretations. Although the company has shown a fair bit of growth in earnings, the reinvestment rate is low. Meaning, the earnings growth number could have been significantly higher had the company been retaining more of its profits and reinvesting that at a higher rate of return. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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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### About AIM:FDP

#### FD Technologies

Provides software and consulting services in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Excellent balance sheet and fair value.