It is hard to get excited after looking at VICOM's (SGX:WJP) recent performance, when its stock has declined 5.9% over the past three months. It is possible that the markets have ignored the company's differing financials and decided to lean-in to the negative sentiment. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. Specifically, we decided to study VICOM's ROE in this article.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. 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?
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 VICOM is:
21% = S$26m ÷ S$123m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every SGD1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated SGD0.21 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.
VICOM's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE
At first glance, VICOM seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 6.6% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. For this reason, VICOM's five year net income decline of 3.0% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn't translate into earnings growth. 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. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
However, when we compared VICOM's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 22% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about VICOM's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Is VICOM Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
VICOM's declining earnings is not surprising given how the company is spending most of its profits in paying dividends, judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 92% (or a retention ratio of 7.7%). The business is only left with a small pool of capital to reinvest - A vicious cycle that doesn't benefit the company in the long-run. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for VICOM.
Moreover, VICOM has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about VICOM's performance. In spite of the high ROE, the company has failed to see growth in its earnings due to it paying out most of its profits as dividend, with almost nothing left to invest into its own business. Up till now, we've only made a short study of the company's growth data. So it may be worth checking this free detailed graph of VICOM's past earnings, as well as revenue and cash flows to get a deeper insight into the company's performance.
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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