Smurfit Kappa Group plc (ISE:SK3): What The Forecasts Are Telling Us

As analysts expect Smurfit Kappa Group plc (ISE:SK3) to produce solid earnings growth of 39.26% in the coming year, it’s necessary to take a moment and evaluate this encouraging sentiment. It is crucial for investors to do this, so they can judge the underlying components responsible for spurring this growth, because the sustainability of returns to shareholders can be impacted on in different ways. To get some insight, I will shine a light on the behaviour of Smurfit Kappa Group’s margins to help recognise the underlying make-up of revenue and expenses that is responsible for driving future earnings expectations and what it means for SK3’s returns relative to its competitors.

View our latest analysis for Smurfit Kappa Group

What does SK3’s profit margin tell us?

Attractive margins generally indicate a desirable ability to translate sales revenue in to earnings, and return for shareholders. Knowing the portion of top line revenue that is turned into net income helps to assess this ability whilst spotting profit drivers, and can be found by calculating SK3’s profit margin.

Margin Calculation for SK3

Profit Margin = Net Income ÷ Revenue

∴ Profit Margin = 417.00 Million ÷ 8.56 Billion = 4.87%

Smurfit Kappa Group’s margin has expanded in the past five years, with a 14.98% average growth in net income surpassing 2.53% in average revenue growth, which means that the previous increase in revenue has coincided with a larger portion falling to the bottom line. SK3’s most recent margin of 4.87% appears to follow this trend, indicating that earnings growth has likely been driven through improved cost management alongside the benefits of revenue growth.

What can we tell from future expectations?

Margins are expected to expand further, with an expectation of 3.51% in annual revenue growth and 12.69% earnings growth expected annually. This suggests future earnings growth is driven further by enhanced cost efficiency alongside revenue increases, which is enlarging the incremental amount of net income that is retained from the forecasted revenue growth. However, those watching the stock must know margin expansion can hold various implications on the company’s performance depending on how it operates, which makes further research very important.

ISE:SK3 Future Profit May 15th 18
ISE:SK3 Future Profit May 15th 18
Generally, it is useful to judge profit margin and its implication on return in comparison to other companies who share similar traits. In Smurfit Kappa Group’s case, profit margins moving forward are forecasted to expand along with the margins in the Packaging industry, whilst at the same time, the forecasted ROE of Smurfit Kappa Group is greater than the industry at 21.14% and 13.07% respectively, although it must not be forgotten than this result is influenced by the company’s debt levels. This serves as an indication of the confidence amongst analysts covering that stock that the nature of Smurfit Kappa Group’s earnings will result in a higher return per dollar of equity compared to the industry. But before moving forward, it must be remembered that bottom line earnings and profit margins are susceptible to being manipulated and don’t always give the full picture. Thus, it is essential to run your own analysis on Smurfit Kappa Group’s future earnings whilst maintaining a watchful eye over the sustainability of their cost management methods and the runway for top line growth.

Next Steps:

For SK3, I’ve put together three important aspects you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Valuation: What is SK3 worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether SK3 is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of SK3? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!