December 3, 2021

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Bell Food Group AG’s (VTX:BELL) Stock is Soaring But Financials Seem Inconsistent: Will The Uptrend Continue?

Most readers would already be aware that Bell Food Group’s (VTX:BELL) stock increased significantly by 6.4% over the past month. However, we wonder if the company’s inconsistent financials would have any adverse impact on the current share price momentum. In this article, we decided to focus on Bell Food Group’s ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company’s management is utilizing the company’s capital. Put another way, it reveals the company’s success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Bell Food Group

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Bell Food Group is:

3.8% = CHF50m ÷ CHF1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

The ‘return’ is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every CHF1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn CHF0.04 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learnt that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 Bell Food Group’s Earnings Growth And 3.8% ROE

When you first look at it, Bell Food Group’s ROE doesn’t look that attractive. A quick further study shows that the company’s ROE doesn’t compare favorably to the industry average of 11% either. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 7.6% seen by Bell Food Group over the last five years is not surprising. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company’s earnings prospects. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared Bell Food 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 4.6% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

SWX:BELL Past Earnings Growth April 22nd 2020

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock’s future looks promising or ominous. Is BELL fairly valued? This infographic on the company’s intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Bell Food Group Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 30% (where it is retaining 70% of its profits), Bell Food Group has seen a decline in earnings as we saw above. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Moreover, Bell Food Group 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. Upon studying the latest analysts’ consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 30% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Bell Food Group’s future ROE will rise to 8.2% even though the the company’s payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Bell Food Group can be open to many interpretations. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company’s earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected] This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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