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Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About A.G. BARR p.l.c. (LON:BAG)?

·4 min read

It is hard to get excited after looking at A.G. BARR's (LON:BAG) recent performance, when its stock has declined 6.9% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financials over the long term, which in this case look pretty respectable. Particularly, we will be paying attention to A.G. BARR's ROE today.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for A.G. BARR

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity 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 A.G. BARR is:

11% = UK£28m ÷ UK£248m (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every £1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn £0.11 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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 A.G. BARR's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

To start with, A.G. BARR's ROE looks acceptable. Even when compared to the industry average of 14% the company's ROE looks quite decent. However, while A.G. BARR has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 8.8% . We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

As a next step, we compared A.G. BARR's performance with the industry and found thatA.G. BARR's performance is depressing even when compared with the industry, which has shrunk its earnings at a rate of 0.1% in the same period, which is a slower than the company.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is BAG fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is A.G. BARR Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

A.G. BARR's low three-year median payout ratio of 15% (implying that it retains the remaining 85% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. This typically shouldn't be the case when a company is retaining most of its earnings. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.

Moreover, A.G. BARR 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 49% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the higher expected payout ratio.

Summary

In total, it does look like A.G. BARR 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. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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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