U.S. markets open in 5 hours 45 minutes
  • S&P Futures

    4,171.75
    -4.50 (-0.11%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    34,008.00
    -73.00 (-0.21%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    14,039.50
    +10.00 (+0.07%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,250.30
    -8.70 (-0.39%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    63.03
    -0.10 (-0.16%)
     
  • Gold

    1,782.40
    +2.20 (+0.12%)
     
  • Silver

    25.97
    -0.14 (-0.52%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1990
    +0.0010 (+0.08%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5730
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    17.03
    +0.46 (+2.78%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3863
    +0.0023 (+0.16%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    108.3780
    -0.4050 (-0.37%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    57,323.82
    +638.82 (+1.13%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,305.11
    -86.60 (-6.22%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,021.69
    +2.16 (+0.03%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    29,685.37
    +2.00 (+0.01%)
     

Should You Be Impressed By bpost SA/NV's (EBR:BPOST) ROE?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Simply Wall St
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

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 bpost SA/NV (EBR:BPOST), by way of a worked example.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for bpost

How To 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 bpost is:

23% = €155m ÷ €683m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every €1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn €0.23 in profit.

Does bpost Have A Good Return On Equity?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, bpost has a better ROE than the average (12%) in the Logistics industry.

ENXTBR:BPOST Past Revenue and Net Income April 24th 2020
ENXTBR:BPOST Past Revenue and Net Income April 24th 2020

That is a good sign. With that said, a high ROE doesn't always indicate high profitability. Aside from changes in net income, a high ROE can also be the outcome of high debt relative to equity, which indicates risk. You can see the 4 risks we have identified for bpost by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Most companies need money -- from somewhere -- to grow their profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the debt required for growth will boost returns, but will not impact the shareholders' equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

bpost's Debt And Its 23% ROE

It's worth noting the high use of debt by bpost, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.47. Its ROE is pretty impressive but, it would have probably been lower without the use of debt. Debt does bring extra risk, so it's only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

Summary

Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. A company that can achieve a high return on equity without debt could be considered a high quality business. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. The rate at which profits are likely to grow, relative to the expectations of profit growth reflected in the current price, must be considered, too. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

Of course bpost may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have high ROE and low debt.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.