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Why Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT) Looks Like A Quality Company

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

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 Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT), 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.

See our latest analysis for Federal Realty Investment Trust

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Federal Realty Investment Trust is:

11% = US$283m ÷ US$2.7b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

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 $0.11.

Does Federal Realty Investment Trust Have A Good Return On Equity?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. Pleasingly, Federal Realty Investment Trust has a superior ROE than the average (5.0%) in the REITs industry.

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That's what we like to see. However, bear in mind that a high ROE doesn’t necessarily indicate efficient profit generation. Aside from changes in net income, a high ROE can also be the outcome of high debt relative to equity, which indicates risk. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Federal Realty Investment Trust visit our risks dashboard for free.

How Does Debt Impact ROE?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. 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. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

Combining Federal Realty Investment Trust's Debt And Its 11% Return On Equity

Federal Realty Investment Trust does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.66. With a fairly low ROE, and significant use of debt, it's hard to get excited about this business at the moment. Debt does bring extra risk, so it's only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

Summary

Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. All else being equal, a higher ROE is better.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

But note: Federal Realty Investment Trust 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.