Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA (OB:WAWI) Stock Is Going Strong But Fundamentals Look Uncertain: What Lies Ahead ?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 21, 2022
OB:WAWI
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Wallenius Wilhelmsen's (OB:WAWI) stock is up by a considerable 19% 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Wallenius Wilhelmsen's ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

View our latest analysis for Wallenius Wilhelmsen

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 Wallenius Wilhelmsen is:

6.3% = US$176m ÷ US$2.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

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 NOK0.06 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen's Earnings Growth And 6.3% ROE

On the face of it, Wallenius Wilhelmsen'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 10% either. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 45% seen by Wallenius Wilhelmsen over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

So, as a next step, we compared Wallenius Wilhelmsen'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 28% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
OB:WAWI Past Earnings Growth April 21st 2022

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is Wallenius Wilhelmsen fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Wallenius Wilhelmsen Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 48% (where it is retaining 52% of its profits), Wallenius Wilhelmsen has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Additionally, Wallenius Wilhelmsen 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 34% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 18% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Wallenius Wilhelmsen. 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, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

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