Sopheon plc's (LON:SPE) Stock Is Rallying But Financials Look Ambiguous: Will The Momentum Continue?

·4 min read

Most readers would already be aware that Sopheon's (LON:SPE) stock increased significantly by 9.7% over the past month. However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. Specifically, we decided to study Sopheon's ROE in this article.

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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Sopheon

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Sopheon is:

5.0% = US$1.5m ÷ US$31m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every £1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated £0.05 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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 everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

Sopheon's Earnings Growth And 5.0% ROE

On the face of it, Sopheon's ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 13% either. For this reason, Sopheon's five year net income decline of 18% is not surprising given its 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.

So, as a next step, we compared Sopheon's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 9.6% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Sopheon fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Sopheon Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Sopheon's low three-year median payout ratio of 21% (or a retention ratio of 79%) over the last three years should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth but the company's earnings have actually shrunk. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.

In addition, Sopheon has been paying dividends over a period of three years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline.

Summary

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Sopheon. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. In addition, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that the company's earnings are expected to continue to shrink. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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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