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Can Mixed Financials Have A Negative Impact on United Overseas Insurance Limited's 's (SGX:U13) Current Price Momentum?

United Overseas Insurance's (SGX:U13) stock up by 2.0% over the past three months. Given that the stock prices usually follow long-term business performance, we wonder if the company's mixed financials could have any adverse effect on its current price price movement Specifically, we decided to study United Overseas Insurance's ROE in this article.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for United Overseas Insurance

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for United Overseas Insurance is:

6.6% = S$29m ÷ S$442m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every SGD1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of SGD0.07.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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 United Overseas Insurance's Earnings Growth And 6.6% ROE

When you first look at it, United Overseas Insurance's ROE doesn't look that attractive. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 9.3%. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 7.5% seen by United Overseas Insurance was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. 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 United Overseas Insurance's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 10% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is U13 worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether U13 is currently mispriced by the market.

Is United Overseas Insurance Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 43% (or a retention ratio of 57%) which is pretty normal, United Overseas Insurance's declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, United Overseas Insurance has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by United Overseas Insurance can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. Wrapping up, we would proceed with caution with this company and one way of doing that would be to look at the risk profile of the business. To know the 2 risks we have identified for United Overseas Insurance visit our risks dashboard for free.

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.