While some investors are already well versed in financial metrics (hat tip), this article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE) and why it is important. We'll use ROE to examine Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company, Ltd. (SZSE:002060), by way of a worked example.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors' money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
View our latest analysis for Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company
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 Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company is:
8.6% = CN¥369m ÷ CN¥4.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CN¥1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CN¥0.09 in profit.
Does Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company Have A Good Return On Equity?
By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. You can see in the graphic below that Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company has an ROE that is fairly close to the average for the Construction industry (7.8%).SZSE:002060 Return on Equity December 15th 2022
That isn't amazing, but it is respectable. Although the ROE is similar to the industry, we should still perform further checks to see if the company's ROE is being boosted by high debt levels. If so, this increases its exposure to financial risk. Our risks dashboardshould have the 2 risks we have identified for Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company.
Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE
Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. The cash for investment can come from prior year profits (retained earnings), issuing new shares, or borrowing. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.
Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company's Debt And Its 8.6% ROE
It appears that Guangdong No.2 Hydropower Engineering Company makes extensive use of debt to improve its returns, because it has an alarmingly high debt to equity ratio of 4.35. The combination of a rather low ROE and high debt to equity is a negative, in our book.
Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. In our books, the highest quality companies have high return on equity, despite low debt. If two companies have around the same level of debt to equity, and one has a higher ROE, I'd generally prefer the one with higher ROE.
But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. So you might want to check this FREE visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.
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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.