Are Centaur Media Plc's (LON:CAU) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

·4 min read

It is hard to get excited after looking at Centaur Media's (LON:CAU) recent performance, when its stock has declined 8.2% over the past month. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Centaur Media's ROE in this article.

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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Centaur Media

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 Centaur Media is:

3.0% = UK£1.4m ÷ UK£47m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.03.

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. 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 Centaur Media's Earnings Growth And 3.0% ROE

On the face of it, Centaur Media's ROE is not much to talk about. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 9.6%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. In spite of this, Centaur Media was able to grow its net income considerably, at a rate of 26% in the last five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that the growth figure reported by Centaur Media compares quite favourably to the industry average, which shows a decline of 9.5% 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 Centaur Media fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Centaur Media Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

The really high LTM (or last twelve month) payout ratio of 102% for Centaur Media suggests that the company is paying its shareholders more than what it is earning. Despite this, the company's earnings grew significantly as we saw above. Although, it could be worth keeping an eye on the high payout ratio as that's a huge risk. You can see the 2 risks we have identified for Centaur Media by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Additionally, Centaur Media has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 40% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 11%, over the same period.

Conclusion

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Centaur Media's performance. While no doubt its earnings growth is pretty substantial, its ROE and earnings retention is quite poor. So while the company has managed to grow its earnings in spite of this, we are unconvinced if this growth could extend, especially during troubled times. 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.

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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