Huaneng Power International Inc (SEHK:902) generated a below-average return on equity of 2.33% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 6.64%. An investor may attribute an inferior ROE to a relatively inefficient performance, and whilst this can often be the case, knowing the nuts and bolts of the ROE calculation may change that perspective and give you a deeper insight into 902’s past performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of 902’s returns. Check out our latest analysis for Huaneng Power International
Breaking down Return on Equity
Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Huaneng Power International’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. 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
Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Huaneng Power International’s cost of equity is 10.66%. Given a discrepancy of -8.33% between return and cost, this indicated that Huaneng Power International may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct 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
The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Huaneng Power International 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 ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Huaneng Power International’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at over 2.5 times, meaning the below-average ratio is already being driven by a large amount of debt.
ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Huaneng Power International’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Huaneng Power International’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.
For Huaneng Power International, I’ve compiled three relevant aspects you should further research:
- 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 Huaneng Power International 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 Huaneng Power International is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Huaneng Power International? 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.