Is The Market Rewarding Storebrand ASA (OB:STB) With A Negative Sentiment As A Result Of Its Mixed Fundamentals?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 20, 2022
OB:STB
Source: Shutterstock

Storebrand (OB:STB) has had a rough three months with its share price down 11%. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. In this article, we decided to focus on Storebrand's ROE.

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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

Check out our latest analysis for Storebrand

How Is ROE Calculated?

ROE 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 Storebrand is:

8.3% = kr3.1b ÷ kr38b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every NOK1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn NOK0.08 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.

Storebrand's Earnings Growth And 8.3% ROE

When you first look at it, Storebrand's ROE doesn't look that attractive. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.6%. We can see that Storebrand has grown at a five year net income growth average rate of 2.8%, which is a bit on the lower side. Remember, the company's ROE is not particularly great to begin with. Hence, this does provide some context to low earnings growth seen by the company.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Storebrand's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 7.8% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
OB:STB Past Earnings Growth April 20th 2022

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for STB? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Storebrand Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Despite having a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 47% (implying that the company retains the remaining 53% of its income), Storebrand's earnings growth was quite low. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Moreover, Storebrand has been paying dividends for five years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 81% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the higher expected payout ratio.

Conclusion

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Storebrand. 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. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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