Most readers would already be aware that Raffles Medical Group’s (SGX:BSL) stock increased significantly by 19% over the past three months. We, however wanted to have a closer look at its key financial indicators as the markets usually pay for long-term fundamentals, and in this case, they don’t look very promising. Specifically, we decided to study Raffles Medical Group’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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder’s equity.
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 Raffles Medical Group is:
5.6% = S$49m ÷ S$879m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).
The ‘return’ is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every SGD1 worth of shareholders’ equity, the company generated SGD0.06 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. 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.
Raffles Medical Group’s Earnings Growth And 5.6% ROE
When you first look at it, Raffles Medical Group’s ROE doesn’t look that attractive. We then compared the company’s ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 8.0%. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 3.5% seen by Raffles Medical Group was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company’s earnings prospects. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
However, when we compared Raffles Medical Group’s growth with the industry we found that while the company’s earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 0.5% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. Is BSL fairly valued? This infographic on the company’s intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Raffles Medical Group Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
With a high three-year median payout ratio of 63% (implying that 37% of the profits are retained), most of Raffles Medical Group’s profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the company’s shrinking earnings. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent.
Additionally, Raffles Medical Group has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years, which means that the company’s management is determined to pay dividends even if it means little to no earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts’ consensus data, we found that the company’s future payout ratio is expected to rise to 79% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Raffles Medical Group’s future ROE will rise to 6.9% even though the the company’s payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company’s ROE.
Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Raffles Medical Group. As a result of its low ROE and lack of mich reinvestment into the business, the company has seen a disappointing earnings growth rate. 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.
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