The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to learn about Return on Equity using a real-life example.
Hexcel Corporation (NYSE:HXL) outperformed the Aerospace and Defense industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 20.6% relative to the peer average of 11.9% over the past 12 months. While the impressive ratio tells us that HXL has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if HXL has borrowed debt to make this happen. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of HXL’s ROE.
Breaking down Return on Equity
Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.21 in earnings from this. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.
Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity
ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Hexcel’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 9.1%. Since Hexcel’s return covers its cost in excess of 11.4%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Hexcel 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:
ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage
ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)
ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity
Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Hexcel can generate with its current 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 financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Hexcel currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a sensible 67.1%, meaning the above-average ROE is due to its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.
ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Hexcel’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers its cost of equity. Its high ROE is not likely to be driven by high debt. Therefore, investors may have more confidence in the sustainability of this level of returns going forward. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.
For Hexcel, I’ve put together three key aspects you should look at:
- 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.
- Valuation: What is Hexcel 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 Hexcel is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Hexcel? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.