U.S. Markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,785.38
    -33.45 (-0.88%)
     
  • Dow 30

    30,775.43
    -253.88 (-0.82%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    11,028.74
    -149.16 (-1.33%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,707.99
    -11.38 (-0.66%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    106.01
    -3.77 (-3.43%)
     
  • Gold

    1,808.00
    -9.50 (-0.52%)
     
  • Silver

    20.19
    -0.47 (-2.29%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0483
    +0.0039 (+0.3774%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.9720
    -0.1210 (-3.91%)
     
  • Vix

    28.71
    +0.55 (+1.95%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2174
    +0.0051 (+0.4236%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    135.7400
    -0.8050 (-0.5895%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    18,879.89
    -1,358.51 (-6.71%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    404.82
    -26.65 (-6.18%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,169.28
    -143.04 (-1.96%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,393.04
    -411.56 (-1.54%)
     

A Note On Black Hills Corporation's (NYSE:BKH) ROE and Debt To Equity

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • 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 Black Hills Corporation (NYSE:BKH), by way of a worked example.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Black Hills

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity 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 Black Hills is:

9.0% = US$251m ÷ US$2.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.09.

Does Black Hills Have A Good ROE?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. If you look at the image below, you can see Black Hills has a similar ROE to the average in the Integrated Utilities industry classification (9.0%).

roe
roe

That isn't amazing, but it is respectable. Even if the ROE is respectable when compared to the industry, its worth checking if the firm's ROE is being aided by high debt levels. If true, then it is more an indication of risk than the potential. To know the 2 risks we have identified for Black Hills visit our risks dashboard for free.

How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Most companies need money -- from somewhere -- to grow their profits. The cash for investment can come from prior year profits (retained earnings), issuing new shares, or borrowing. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining Black Hills' Debt And Its 9.0% Return On Equity

Black Hills clearly uses a high amount of debt to boost returns, as it has a debt to equity ratio of 1.59. The combination of a rather low ROE and significant use of debt is not particularly appealing. Investors should think carefully about how a company might perform if it was unable to borrow so easily, because credit markets do change over time.

Conclusion

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 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. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

But note: Black Hills may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

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.