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Why discoverIE Group plc’s (LON:DSCV) ROE Of 5.76% Does Not Tell The Whole Story

Brent Freeman

discoverIE Group plc (LSE:DSCV) generated a below-average return on equity of 5.76% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 10.29%. DSCV’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on DSCV’s performance. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of DSCV’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. View our latest analysis for discoverIE Group

What you must know about ROE

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs discoverIE Group’s profit against the level of its 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. discoverIE Group’s cost of equity is 8.30%. Given a discrepancy of -2.54% between return and cost, this indicated that discoverIE Group may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating in return. ROE can be split up into three useful 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

LSE:DSCV Last Perf Mar 20th 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 discoverIE Group can make from its 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 discoverIE Group’s debt-to-equity level. At 43.09%, discoverIE Group’s debt-to-equity ratio appears low and indicates that discoverIE Group still has room to increase leverage and grow its profits.

LSE:DSCV Historical Debt Mar 20th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. discoverIE Group’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, and its returns were also not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of discoverIE Group’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For discoverIE Group, I’ve put together three important 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 discoverIE Group 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 discoverIE Group is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of discoverIE Group? 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.