Coles Group's (ASX:COL) stock up by 4.8% over the past month. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company's decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Coles Group's ROE today.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
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 Coles Group is:
33% = AU$994m ÷ AU$3.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2022).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.33.
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. 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 Coles Group's Earnings Growth And 33% ROE
First thing first, we like that Coles Group has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 23% which is quite remarkable. Given the circumstances, we can't help but wonder why Coles Group saw little to no growth in 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. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital
We then performed a comparison between Coles Group's net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 0.8% in the same period.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Coles Group fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is Coles Group Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Coles Group has a high three-year median payout ratio of 78% (or a retention ratio of 22%), meaning that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This does go some way in explaining why there's been no growth in its earnings.
Moreover, Coles Group has been paying dividends for three years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 82%. As a result, Coles Group's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 35% for future ROE.
Overall, we feel that Coles Group certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Its earnings have grown respectably as we saw earlier, which was likely due to the company reinvesting its earnings at a pretty high rate of return. However, given the high ROE, we do think that the company is reinvesting a small portion of its profits. This could likely be preventing the company from growing to its full extent. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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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.
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