# Irish Continental Group plc's (LON:ICGC) Has Performed Well But Fundamentals Look Varied: Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?

Irish Continental Group's (LON:ICGC) stock is up by 8.4% 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 Irish Continental Group's ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Irish Continental Group

## How Is ROE Calculated?

ROE 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 Irish Continental Group is:

8.9% = €22m ÷ €251m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.09 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. 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.

## Irish Continental Group's Earnings Growth And 8.9% ROE

When you first look at it, Irish Continental 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 20% either. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 49% seen by Irish Continental Group over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

However, when we compared Irish Continental 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 37% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Irish Continental Group's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

## Is Irish Continental Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

When we piece together Irish Continental Group's low three-year median payout ratio of 14% (where it is retaining 86% of its profits), calculated for the last three-year period, we are puzzled by the lack of growth. This typically shouldn't be the case when a company is retaining most of its earnings. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For example, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Moreover, Irish Continental 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.

## Summary

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Irish Continental Group. 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. You can see the 4 risks we have identified for Irish Continental Group by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

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.

Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US\$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here