Reach Subsea (OB:REACH) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 36% over the last three months. But the company's key financial indicators appear to be differing across the board and that makes us question whether or not the company's current share price momentum can be maintained. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Reach Subsea's ROE today.
ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
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 Reach Subsea is:
2.1% = kr4.1m ÷ kr196m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each NOK1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made NOK0.02 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.
Reach Subsea's Earnings Growth And 2.1% ROE
It is hard to argue that Reach Subsea's ROE is much good in and of itself. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 4.5%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. For this reason, Reach Subsea's five year net income decline of 16% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.
So, as a next step, we compared Reach Subsea'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 54% in the same period.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). 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 Reach Subsea is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Reach Subsea Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Because Reach Subsea doesn't pay any dividends, we infer that it is retaining all of its profits, which is rather perplexing when you consider the fact that there is no earnings growth to show for it. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Reach Subsea can be open to many interpretations. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. Wrapping up, we would proceed with caution with this company and one way of doing that would be to look at the risk profile of the business. Our risks dashboard would have the 3 risks we have identified for Reach Subsea.
If you decide to trade Reach Subsea, use the lowest-cost* platform that is rated #1 Overall by Barron’s, Interactive Brokers. Trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds on 135 markets, all from a single integrated account.
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.