Stock Analysis

# Sanlam Limited's (JSE:SLM) Stock On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Momentum?

Most readers would already be aware that Sanlam's (JSE:SLM) stock increased significantly by 15% over the past month. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. Specifically, we decided to study Sanlam's ROE in this article.

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 Sanlam

## How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Sanlam is:

14% = R14b ÷ R97b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each ZAR1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made ZAR0.14 in profit.

## 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 Sanlam's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

When you first look at it, Sanlam's ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 14%, we may spare it some thought. Even so, Sanlam has shown a fairly decent growth in its net income which grew at a rate of 12%. 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.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Sanlam's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 5.4% in the same period, which is great to see.

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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Sanlam fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

## Is Sanlam Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Sanlam has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 71%, meaning that it is left with only 29% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Besides, Sanlam has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 61%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 16%.

## Summary

In total, it does look like Sanlam has some positive aspects to its business. While no doubt its earnings growth is pretty substantial, we do feel that the reinvestment rate is pretty low, meaning, the earnings growth number could have been significantly higher had the company been retaining more of its profits. We also studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that the company's earnings growth is expected be similar to its current growth rate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

### Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Sanlam is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.