Stock Analysis

Should Weakness in Santam Ltd's (JSE:SNT) Stock Be Seen As A Sign That Market Will Correct The Share Price Given Decent Financials?

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JSE:SNT
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With its stock down 3.3% over the past week, it is easy to disregard Santam (JSE:SNT). 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 Santam's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

See our latest analysis for Santam

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 Santam is:

13% = R1.3b ÷ R9.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every ZAR1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of ZAR0.13.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

A Side By Side comparison of Santam's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

On the face of it, Santam's ROE is not much to talk about. However, the fact that the company's ROE is higher than the average industry ROE of 6.6%, is definitely interesting. Still, Santam has seen a flat net income growth over the past five years. Remember, the company's ROE is a bit low to begin with, just that it is higher than the industry average. Therefore, the low to flat growth in earnings could also be the result of this.

We then compared Santam's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 0.9% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
JSE:SNT Past Earnings Growth December 2nd 2020

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 Santam fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Santam Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

While the company did pay out a portion of its dividend in the past, it currently doesn't pay a dividend. We infer that the company has been reinvesting all of its profits to grow its business.

Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 64% of its profits over the next three years. However, Santam's ROE is predicted to rise to 25% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Santam has some positive attributes. Especially the substantial growth in earnings backed by a decent ROE. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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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