Stock Analysis

# GO p.l.c.'s (MTSE:GO) Stock's Been Going Strong: Could Weak Financials Mean The Market Will Correct Its Share Price?

GO's (MTSE:GO) stock is up by a considerable 17% over the past three months. We, however wanted to have a closer look at its key financial indicators as the markets usually pay for long-term fundamentals, and in this case, they don't look very promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to GO's ROE today.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for GO

### How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

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

8.4% = €11m ÷ €129m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every €1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of €0.08.

### Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

### A Side By Side comparison of GO's Earnings Growth And 8.4% ROE

On the face of it, GO's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 12% seen by GO over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared GO's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 7.0% in the same period.

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is GO fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

### Is GO Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

GO's declining earnings is not surprising given how the company is spending most of its profits in paying dividends, judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 82% (or a retention ratio of 18%). The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run. To know the 4 risks we have identified for GO visit our risks dashboard for free.

In addition, GO 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.

### Summary

In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning GO. Because the company is not reinvesting much into the business, and given the low ROE, it's not surprising to see the lack or absence of growth in its earnings. So far, we've only made a quick discussion around the company's earnings growth. So it may be worth checking this free detailed graph of GO's past earnings, as well as revenue and cash flows to get a deeper insight into the company's performance.

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### Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether GO is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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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