Antofagasta plc's (LON:ANTO) Stock Has Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Strong: Is The Market Wrong?

·4 min read

With its stock down 7.8% over the past three months, it is easy to disregard Antofagasta (LON:ANTO). However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Specifically, we decided to study Antofagasta'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.

View our latest analysis for Antofagasta

How To 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 Antofagasta is:

17% = US$1.8b ÷ US$10b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.17 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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.

Antofagasta's Earnings Growth And 17% ROE

To begin with, Antofagasta seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 17%. This certainly adds some context to Antofagasta's exceptional 22% net income growth seen over the past five years. However, there could also be other drivers behind this growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

We then performed a comparison between Antofagasta's net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 22% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. If you're wondering about Antofagasta's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Antofagasta Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

The high three-year median payout ratio of 75% (implying that it keeps only 25% of profits) for Antofagasta suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of the earnings to its shareholders.

Moreover, Antofagasta is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 48% over the next three years. Still forecasts suggest that Antofagasta's future ROE will drop to 7.0% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to decrease. This suggests that there could be other factors could driving the anticipated decline in the company's ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Antofagasta's performance. In particular, its high ROE is quite noteworthy and also the probable explanation behind its considerable earnings growth. Yet, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Which means that the company has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's not too bad. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. 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.

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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