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Why Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (NSE:BHEL) Delivered An Inferior ROE Compared To The Industry

Vernon Smith

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (NSEI:BHEL) delivered a less impressive 1.41% ROE over the past year, compared to the 8.31% return generated by its industry. Though BHEL’s recent performance is underwhelming, it is useful to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components can change your views on BHEL’s below-average returns. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of BHEL’s returns. See our latest analysis for Bharat Heavy Electricals

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

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Bharat Heavy Electricals’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests ₹1 in the form of equity, it will generate ₹0.01 in earnings from this. 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Bharat Heavy Electricals’s cost of equity is 14.92%. This means Bharat Heavy Electricals’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -13.52%. 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 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

NSEI:BHEL Last Perf Feb 14th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Bharat Heavy Electricals can generate with its current asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Bharat Heavy Electricals’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently Bharat Heavy Electricals has virtually no debt, which means its returns are predominantly driven by equity capital. This could explain why Bharat Heavy Electricals’s’ ROE is lower than its industry peers, most of which may have some degree of debt in its business.

NSEI:BHEL Historical Debt Feb 14th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Bharat Heavy Electricals’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, and its returns were also not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. However, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Bharat Heavy Electricals, I’ve compiled three pertinent aspects you should further research:


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.