Telenor ASA's (OB:TEL) Has Performed Well But Fundamentals Look Varied: Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?
Simply Wall St · 01/29 11:06

Telenor's (OB:TEL) stock is up by 6.0% over the past three months. However, we decided to study the company's mixed-bag of fundamentals to assess what this could mean for future share prices, as stock prices tend to be aligned with a company's long-term financial performance. Specifically, we decided to study Telenor'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 Telenor

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 Telenor is:

13% = kr10b ÷ kr80b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every NOK1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn NOK0.13 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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 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 Telenor's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

At first glance, Telenor seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 13%. However, while Telenor has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 3.2% . We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

However, when we compared Telenor's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 15% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
OB:TEL Past Earnings Growth January 29th 2024

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Telenor's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Telenor Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Telenor's very high three-year median payout ratio of 148% over the last three years suggests that the company is paying its shareholders more than what it is earning and this explains the company's shrinking earnings. Paying a dividend beyond their means is usually not viable over the long term. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Telenor visit our risks dashboard for free.

Moreover, Telenor 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 121% of its profits over the next three years. However, Telenor's ROE is predicted to rise to 17% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Telenor can be open to many interpretations. In spite of the high ROE, the company has failed to see growth in its earnings due to it paying out most of its profits as dividend, with almost nothing left to invest into its own business. In addition, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that the company's earnings are expected to continue to shrink. 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.