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Are Abcam plc's (LON:ABC) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

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Abcam (LON:ABC) has had a rough month with its share price down 11%. It is possible that the markets have ignored the company's differing financials and decided to lean-in to the negative sentiment. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. In this article, we decided to focus on Abcam's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for Abcam

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

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

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

0.7% = UK£4.4m ÷ UK£656m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.01 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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 Abcam's Earnings Growth And 0.7% ROE

As you can see, Abcam's ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 8.7%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 30% seen by Abcam over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Abcam'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 19% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is ABC fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Abcam Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

While the company did payout a portion of its dividend in the past, it currently doesn't pay a dividend. This implies that potentially all of its profits are being reinvested in the business.

Summary

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Abcam's performance. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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