It is hard to get excited after looking at Autohome's (NYSE:ATHM) recent performance, when its stock has declined 21% over the past three months. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Autohome's ROE today.
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.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
ROE can be calculated by using the formula:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Autohome is:
6.2% = CN¥1.5b ÷ CN¥24b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
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 $0.06 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. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.
Autohome's Earnings Growth And 6.2% ROE
On the face of it, Autohome's ROE is not much to talk about. However, its ROE is similar to the industry average of 7.3%, so we won't completely dismiss the company. Still, Autohome has seen a flat net income growth over the past five years. Bear in mind, the company's ROE is not very high. So that could also be one of the reasons behind the company's flat growth in earnings.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that the industry grew its earnings by 20% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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 ATHM fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Autohome Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Autohome has a low three-year median payout ratio of 20% (or a retention ratio of 80%) but the negligible earnings growth number doesn't reflect this as high growth usually follows high profit retention.
Moreover, Autohome 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 19% of its profits over the next three years. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 7.0%.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Autohome's performance. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. 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. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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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