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Can Proximus PLC (EBR:PROX) Continue To Outperform Its Industry?

Scott Perkins

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want a simplistic look at the return on Proximus PLC (EBR:PROX) stock.

With an ROE of 16.99%, Proximus PLC (EBR:PROX) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 12.32% over the past year. Superficially, this looks great since we know that PROX has generated big profits with little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us how much PROX has borrowed in debt. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of PROX’s ROE. View out our latest analysis for Proximus

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Proximus’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Proximus, which is 8.19%. Given a positive discrepancy of 8.80% between return and cost, this indicates that Proximus pays less for its capital than what it generates in return, which is a sign of capital efficiency. ROE can be broken down into three different ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

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

ENXTBR:PROX Last Perf June 21st 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Proximus can make from its asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Proximus’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a reasonable 74.96%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

ENXTBR:PROX Historical Debt June 21st 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Proximus’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Proximus, there are three pertinent aspects you should further examine:

  1. 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.
  2. Valuation: What is Proximus 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 Proximus is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Proximus? 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.