The a2 Milk Company Limited's (NZSE:ATM) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 01, 2021
NZSE:ATM
Source: Shutterstock

With its stock down 9.5% over the past week, it is easy to disregard a2 Milk (NZSE:ATM). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. Particularly, we will be paying attention to a2 Milk'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.

View our latest analysis for a2 Milk

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 a2 Milk is:

7.4% = NZ$81m ÷ NZ$1.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every NZ$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated NZ$0.07 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

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

a2 Milk's Earnings Growth And 7.4% ROE

On the face of it, a2 Milk's ROE is not much to talk about. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 7.7%. Moreover, we are quite pleased to see that a2 Milk's net income grew significantly at a rate of 26% over the last five years. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

Given that the industry shrunk its earnings at a rate of 5.5% in the same period, the net income growth of the company is quite impressive.

past-earnings-growth
NZSE:ATM Past Earnings Growth December 1st 2021

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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. Is a2 Milk fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is a2 Milk Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

a2 Milk doesn't pay any dividend to its shareholders, meaning that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits into the business. This is likely what's driving the high earnings growth number discussed above.

Summary

Overall, we feel that a2 Milk certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Despite its low rate of return, the fact that the company reinvests a very high portion of its profits into its business, no doubt contributed to its high earnings growth. On studying current analyst estimates, we found that analysts expect the company to continue its recent growth streak. 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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