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What is Behind Loral Space & Communications Inc’s (NASDAQ:LORL) Superior ROE?

Vernon Smith

Loral Space & Communications Inc (NASDAQ:LORL) delivered an ROE of 32.19% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 11.81% during the same period. Superficially, this looks great since we know that LORL has generated big profits with little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us how much LORL has borrowed in debt. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether LORL’s ROE is actually sustainable. See our latest analysis for Loralce & Communications

What you must know about ROE

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 32.19% implies $0.32 returned on every $1 invested. In most cases, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are many other factors we must consider prior to making any investment decisions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Loralce & Communications’s cost of equity is 8.59%. Since Loralce & Communications’s return covers its cost in excess of 23.60%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Loralce & Communications pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be split up into three useful ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NasdaqGS:LORL Last Perf Mar 7th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Loralce & Communications can make from its asset base. Finally, financial leverage will be our main focus today. It shows how much of assets are funded by equity and can show how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since ROE can be inflated by excessive debt, we need to examine Loralce & Communications’s debt-to-equity level. Currently, Loralce & Communications has no debt which means its returns are driven purely by equity capital. Therefore, the level of financial leverage has no impact on ROE, and the ratio is a representative measure of the efficiency of all its capital employed firm-wide.

NasdaqGS:LORL Historical Debt Mar 7th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. Loralce & Communications exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, as well as sufficient returns to cover its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Loralce & Communications, I’ve compiled three fundamental aspects you should look at:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Valuation: What is Loralce & Communications worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether Loralce & Communications is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Loralce & Communications? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!


To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.