Is Aptitude Software Group plc's (LON:APTD) Recent Price Movement Underpinned By Its Weak Fundamentals?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 16, 2022
LSE:APTD
Source: Shutterstock

It is hard to get excited after looking at Aptitude Software Group's (LON:APTD) recent performance, when its stock has declined 43% over the past month. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Aptitude Software 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Aptitude Software Group

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 Aptitude Software Group is:

8.9% = UK£5.1m ÷ UK£57m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every £1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn £0.09 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.

Aptitude Software Group's Earnings Growth And 8.9% ROE

On the face of it, Aptitude Software Group's ROE is not much to talk about. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 8.9%, we may spare it some thought. But Aptitude Software Group saw a five year net income decline of 5.0% over the past five years. Remember, the company's ROE is a bit low to begin with. Therefore, the decline in earnings could also be the result of this.

So, as a next step, we compared Aptitude Software Group's 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 13% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
LSE:APTD Past Earnings Growth March 16th 2022

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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is APTD fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Aptitude Software Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 50% (where it is retaining 50% of its profits), Aptitude Software Group has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

In addition, Aptitude Software Group has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 42%. However, Aptitude Software Group's ROE is predicted to rise to 16% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Aptitude Software Group can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings 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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