Autoliv, Inc.'s (NYSE:ALV) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 10, 2022
NYSE:ALV
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With its stock down 32% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Autoliv (NYSE:ALV). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. In this article, we decided to focus on Autoliv'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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Autoliv

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Autoliv is:

14% = US$363m ÷ US$2.7b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.14.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Autoliv's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To begin with, Autoliv seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Needless to say, we are quite surprised to see that Autoliv's net income shrunk at a rate of 13% over the past five years. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

However, when we compared Autoliv's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 9.2% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:ALV Past Earnings Growth May 10th 2022

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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. If you're wondering about Autoliv's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

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. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for Autoliv.

Additionally, Autoliv 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 27% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Autoliv's payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 26%, 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. 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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