U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,911.74
    +116.01 (+3.06%)
     
  • Dow 30

    31,500.68
    +823.32 (+2.68%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    11,607.62
    +375.43 (+3.34%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,765.74
    +54.06 (+3.16%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    107.06
    +2.79 (+2.68%)
     
  • Gold

    1,828.10
    -1.70 (-0.09%)
     
  • Silver

    21.13
    +0.09 (+0.42%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0559
    +0.0034 (+0.33%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    3.1250
    +0.0570 (+1.86%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2270
    +0.0009 (+0.07%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    135.2100
    +0.2770 (+0.21%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    21,300.11
    +201.69 (+0.96%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    462.12
    +8.22 (+1.81%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,208.81
    +188.36 (+2.68%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,491.97
    +320.72 (+1.23%)
     

With A Return On Equity Of 23%, Has GMS Inc.'s (NYSE:GMS) Management Done Well?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). We'll use ROE to examine GMS Inc. (NYSE:GMS), by way of a worked example.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for GMS

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 GMS is:

23% = US$231m ÷ US$1.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.23 in profit.

Does GMS Have A Good Return On Equity?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company's ROE is to compare it with the average in its industry. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. The image below shows that GMS has an ROE that is roughly in line with the Trade Distributors industry average (23%).

roe
roe

That's neither particularly good, nor bad. 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.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. 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.

Combining GMS' Debt And Its 23% Return On Equity

It's worth noting the high use of debt by GMS, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.22. While no doubt that its ROE is impressive, we would have been even more impressed had the company achieved this with lower debt. 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. In our books, the highest quality companies have high return on equity, despite low debt. 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.

If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity 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.