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Why Iren SpA’s (BIT:IRE) ROE Of 12.3% Does Not Tell The Whole Story

Brandy Kinsey

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to learn about Return on Equity using a real-life example.

Iren SpA’s (BIT:IRE) most recent return on equity was a substandard 12.3% relative to its industry performance of 12.8% over the past year. Though IRE’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 IRE’s below-average returns. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of IRE’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this.

View our latest analysis for Iren

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Iren’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests €1 in the form of equity, it will generate €0.12 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

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Iren, which is 11.2%. While Iren’s peers may have higher ROE, it may also incur higher cost of equity. An undesirable and unsustainable practice would be if returns exceeded cost. However, this is not the case for Iren which is encouraging. 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

BIT:IRE Last Perf September 13th 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Iren’s 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 artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Iren’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a balanced 128%, which means its ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

BIT:IRE Historical Debt September 13th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. While Iren exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, its returns are sufficient enough to cover its cost of equity. Also, 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 Iren, I’ve put together three important aspects you should look at:

  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 Iren 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 Iren is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Iren? 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 past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.