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Should You Expect Howden Joinery Group Plc (LON:HWDN) To Continue Delivering An ROE Of 39.4%?

Sebastian Eder

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Howden Joinery Group Plc (LON:HWDN) outperformed the Trading Companies and Distributors industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 39.4% relative to the peer average of 15.0% over the past 12 months. While the impressive ratio tells us that HWDN has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if HWDN has borrowed debt to make this happen. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of HWDN’s ROE.

Check out our latest analysis for Howden Joinery Group

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Howden Joinery Group’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests £1 in the form of equity, it will generate £0.39 in earnings from this. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Howden Joinery Group’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.3%. Since Howden Joinery Group’s return covers its cost in excess of 31.1%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Howden Joinery Group pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be broken down into three different 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

LSE:HWDN Last Perf September 21st 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Howden Joinery Group 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 Howden Joinery Group’s debt-to-equity level. Currently, Howden Joinery Group 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.

LSE:HWDN Historical Debt September 21st 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. Howden Joinery Group’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers 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. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Howden Joinery Group, I’ve compiled three important factors you should further examine:

  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 Howden Joinery Group 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 Howden Joinery Group is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Howden Joinery Group? 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 past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.