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Is Robert Walters plc's (LON:RWA) Stock's Recent Performance Being Led By Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

Simply Wall St
·4-min read

Robert Walters (LON:RWA) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 11% over the last week. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. In this article, we decided to focus on Robert Walters' 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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Robert Walters

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 Robert Walters is:

12% = UK£22m ÷ UK£174m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every £1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated £0.12 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. 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.

Robert Walters' Earnings Growth And 12% ROE

To begin with, Robert Walters seems to have a respectable ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 14%. This certainly adds some context to Robert Walters' moderate 16% net income growth seen over the past five years.

As a next step, we compared Robert Walters' net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 16% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). 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 Robert Walters''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Robert Walters Efficiently Re-investing 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.

Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 49% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Robert Walters' future ROE will rise to 16% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that Robert Walters' performance has been quite good. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see substantial growth in its earnings. 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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