United Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:UBOH) delivered a less impressive 5.08% ROE over the past year, compared to the 8.22% return generated by its industry. 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 UBOH’s past performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of UBOH’s returns. See our latest analysis for United Bancshares
Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios
Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. In most cases, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are many other factors we must consider prior to making any investment decisions.
Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity
Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. United Bancshares’s cost of equity is 9.86%. This means United Bancshares’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -4.78%. This isn’t sustainable as it implies, very simply, that the company pays more for its capital than what it generates 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
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 reveals how much revenue can be generated from United Bancshares’s 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 United Bancshares’s debt-to-equity level. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a balanced 92.45%, meaning the ROE is a result of 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. United Bancshares exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of United Bancshares’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 United Bancshares, I’ve compiled three fundamental factors 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 United Bancshares 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 United Bancshares is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of United Bancshares? 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.