Axiata Group Berhad's (KLSE:AXIATA) On An Uptrend But Financial Prospects Look Pretty Weak: Is The Stock Overpriced?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 03, 2021
KLSE:AXIATA

Most readers would already be aware that Axiata Group Berhad's (KLSE:AXIATA) stock increased significantly by 8.5% over the past month. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Axiata Group Berhad's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Axiata Group Berhad

How To 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 Axiata Group Berhad is:

2.6% = RM624m ÷ RM24b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every MYR1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn MYR0.03 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 Axiata Group Berhad's Earnings Growth And 2.6% ROE

It is quite clear that Axiata Group Berhad's ROE is rather low. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 11%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. For this reason, Axiata Group Berhad's five year net income decline of 26% is not surprising given its lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

Next, when we compared with the industry, which has shrunk its earnings at a rate of 7.2% in the same period, we still found Axiata Group Berhad's performance to be quite bleak, because the company has been shrinking its earnings faster than the industry.

past-earnings-growth
KLSE:AXIATA Past Earnings Growth April 4th 2021

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for AXIATA? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Axiata Group Berhad Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 56% (implying that 44% of the profits are retained), most of Axiata Group Berhad's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the company's shrinking earnings. With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for Axiata Group Berhad by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Additionally, Axiata Group Berhad has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 86% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Axiata Group Berhad's future ROE will rise to 8.2% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.

Summary

In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning Axiata Group Berhad. 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. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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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