Autoliv, Inc.'s (NYSE:ALV) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
July 01, 2021
NYSE:ALV
Source: Shutterstock

With its stock down 8.7% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Autoliv (NYSE:ALV). However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. Specifically, we decided to study Autoliv'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.

View our latest analysis for Autoliv

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Autoliv is:

11% = US$270m ÷ US$2.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.11 in profit.

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 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Autoliv's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

At first glance, Autoliv seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 12%. However, while Autoliv has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 20% . We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

So, as a next step, we compared Autoliv'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 5.6% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:ALV Past Earnings Growth July 1st 2021

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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for ALV? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Autoliv Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Autoliv has a high three-year median payout ratio of 51% (that is, it is retaining 49% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for Autoliv by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Moreover, Autoliv has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 24% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 22%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Autoliv certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return. Investors could have benefitted from the high ROE, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings. As discussed earlier, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. 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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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.
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