U.S. Markets open in 7 hrs 5 mins

Why First Community Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:FCBC) Delivered An Inferior ROE Compared To The Industry

Laura Kearns

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want a simplistic look at the return on First Community Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:FCBC) stock.

First Community Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:FCBC) delivered a less impressive 7.06% ROE over the past year, compared to the 8.45% return generated by its industry. Though FCBC’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 FCBC’s below-average returns. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of FCBC’s returns. View out our latest analysis for First Community Bancshares

What you must know about ROE

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 7.06% implies $0.071 returned on every $1 invested. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of First Community Bancshares’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 9.96%. This means First Community Bancshares’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -2.90%. 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 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

NasdaqGS:FCBC Last Perf June 27th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue First Community Bancshares 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 financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt First Community Bancshares currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a low 23.13%, meaning First Community Bancshares still has headroom to borrow debt to increase profits.

NasdaqGS:FCBC Historical Debt June 27th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. First Community Bancshares exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. 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 First Community Bancshares, I’ve compiled three essential factors 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. Future Earnings: How does First Community Bancshares’s growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of First Community Bancshares? 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.