AIA Group (HKG:1299) has had a rough three months with its share price down 7.6%. However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. Particularly, we will be paying attention to AIA Group's ROE today.
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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
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 AIA Group is:
9.1% = US$5.8b ÷ US$64b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every HK$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn HK$0.09 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With 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 AIA Group's Earnings Growth And 9.1% ROE
When you first look at it, AIA Group's ROE doesn't look that attractive. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.1%. Even so, AIA Group has shown a fairly decent growth in its net income which grew at a rate of 9.8%. Given the slightly low ROE, it is likely that there could be some other aspects that are driving this growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that AIA Group's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 6.1% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. 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 AIA Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is AIA Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
AIA Group has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 36% (or a retention ratio of 64%) 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, AIA Group 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 35%. However, AIA Group's ROE is predicted to rise to 11% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
In total, it does look like AIA Group has some positive aspects to its business. Even in spite of the low rate of return, the company has posted impressive earnings growth as a result of reinvesting heavily into its business. 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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