Stockland's (ASX:SGP) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

·4 min read

Stockland (ASX:SGP) has had a rough three months with its share price down 2.3%. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. In this article, we decided to focus on Stockland's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Stockland

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Stockland is:

16% = AU$1.6b ÷ AU$10b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated A$0.16 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 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.

Stockland's Earnings Growth And 16% ROE

At first glance, Stockland seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 14%. However, while Stockland has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 11% . So, there might be some other aspects that could explain this. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared Stockland's performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 12% 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. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Has the market priced in the future outlook for SGP? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Stockland Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Stockland has a very high three-year median payout ratio of 63%, implying that it retains only 37% of its profits. However, it's not unusual to see a REIT with such a high payout ratio mainly due to statutory requirements. So this probably explains the company's shrinking earnings.

In addition, Stockland has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 77% over the next three years. Therefore, the expected rise in the payout ratio explains why the company's ROE is expected to decline to 7.6% over the same period.

Summary

In total, it does look like Stockland has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE. Bear in mind, the company reinvests a small portion of its profits, which means that investors aren't reaping the benefits of the high rate of return. Additionally, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that analysts expect the company's earnings to continue to shrink in the future. 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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