U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    4,071.70
    -4.87 (-0.12%)
     
  • Dow 30

    34,429.88
    +34.87 (+0.10%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    11,461.50
    -20.95 (-0.18%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,892.84
    +11.16 (+0.59%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    80.34
    -0.88 (-1.08%)
     
  • Gold

    1,797.30
    -3.80 (-0.21%)
     
  • Silver

    23.35
    +0.51 (+2.25%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0531
    +0.0002 (+0.02%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    3.5060
    -0.0230 (-0.65%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2296
    +0.0040 (+0.33%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    134.2900
    -1.0160 (-0.75%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    17,009.94
    +24.02 (+0.14%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    404.33
    +2.91 (+0.72%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,556.23
    -2.26 (-0.03%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    27,777.90
    -448.18 (-1.59%)
     

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) Delivered A Better ROE Than Its Industry

One of the best investments we can make is in our own knowledge and skill set. With that in mind, this article will work through how we can use Return On Equity (ROE) to better understand a business. By way of learning-by-doing, we'll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE).

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for FirstEnergy

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 FirstEnergy is:

14% = US$1.2b ÷ US$8.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.14 in profit.

Does FirstEnergy Have A Good ROE?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. As you can see in the graphic below, FirstEnergy has a higher ROE than the average (9.2%) in the Electric Utilities industry.

roe
roe

That is a good sign. Bear in mind, a high ROE doesn't always mean superior financial performance. A higher proportion of debt in a company's capital structure may also result in a high ROE, where the high debt levels could be a huge risk . You can see the 3 risks we have identified for FirstEnergy by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

How Does Debt Impact ROE?

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

Combining FirstEnergy's Debt And Its 14% Return On Equity

It's worth noting the high use of debt by FirstEnergy, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 2.65. While its ROE is pretty respectable, the amount of debt the company is carrying currently is not ideal. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.

Summary

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. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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.