Antofagasta plc’s (LON:ANTO) Stock Is Going Strong: Is the Market Following Fundamentals?

Most readers would already be aware that Antofagasta's (LON:ANTO) stock increased significantly by 27% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term fundamentals, we decided to study the company’s key performance indicators to see if they could be influencing the market. Specifically, we decided to study Antofagasta'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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for Antofagasta

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Antofagasta is:

18% = US$2.1b ÷ US$12b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2023).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.18.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

A Side By Side comparison of Antofagasta's Earnings Growth And 18% ROE

At first glance, Antofagasta seems to have a decent ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Probably as a result of this, Antofagasta was able to see an impressive net income growth of 26% over the last five years. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as – high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then compared Antofagasta's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 20% in the same 5-year period.

past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Antofagasta is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Antofagasta Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Antofagasta's significant three-year median payout ratio of 77% (where it is retaining only 23% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Besides, Antofagasta has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 42% over the next three years. Still forecasts suggest that Antofagasta's future ROE will drop to 8.8% 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

On the whole, we feel that Antofagasta's performance has been quite good. Especially the high ROE, Which has contributed to the impressive growth seen in earnings. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. 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.

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.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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