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Victrex plc's (LON:VCT) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

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Simply Wall St
·4-min read
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Most readers would already be aware that Victrex's (LON:VCT) stock increased significantly by 7.4% over the past week. 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Victrex's ROE today.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Victrex

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 Victrex is:

11% = UK£54m ÷ UK£481m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.11 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.

Victrex's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

To begin with, Victrex seems to have a respectable ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 11%. Despite this, Victrex's five year net income growth was quite flat over 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.

As a next step, we compared Victrex's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 5.2% 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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is VCT worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether VCT is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Victrex Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In spite of a normal three-year median payout ratio of 46% (or a retention ratio of 54%), Victrex hasn't seen much growth in its earnings. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Additionally, Victrex has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company's management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 73% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Victrex's 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.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like Victrex has some positive aspects to its business. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing growth. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.

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