Atea's (OB:ATEA) stock is up by a considerable 29% over the past 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. Specifically, we decided to study Atea's ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How To Calculate Return On Equity?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Atea is:
14% = kr524m ÷ kr3.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every NOK1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of NOK0.14.
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. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.
Atea's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE
At first glance, Atea seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 13%. Despite the moderate return on equity, Atea has posted a net income growth of 3.7% over the past five years. A few likely reasons that could be keeping earnings growth low are - the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
As a next step, we compared Atea's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 13% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 Atea is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Atea Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Atea's very high three-year median payout ratio of 125% suggests that the company is paying its shareholders more than what it is earning and it definitely contributes to the low earnings growth seen by the company. That's a huge risk in our books. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for Atea.
In addition, Atea 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 84% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 21%, over the same period.
On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Atea can be open to many interpretations. In spite of the high ROE, the company has failed to see growth in its earnings due to it paying out most of its profits as dividend, with almost nothing left to invest into its own business. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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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