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Why Patterson-UTI Energy Inc (NASDAQ:PTEN) Delivered An Inferior ROE Compared To The Industry

Liz Campbell

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want a simplistic look at the return on Patterson-UTI Energy Inc (NASDAQ:PTEN) stock.

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc (NASDAQ:PTEN) delivered a less impressive 0.89% ROE over the past year, compared to the 6.75% return generated by its industry. Though PTEN’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 PTEN’s below-average returns. Today I will look at how components such as financial leverage can influence ROE which may impact the sustainability of PTEN’s returns. View out our latest analysis for Patterson-UTI Energy

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. 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 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 Patterson-UTI Energy, which is 10.50%. Since Patterson-UTI Energy’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -9.61%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, Patterson-UTI Energy 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:PTEN Last Perf June 27th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Patterson-UTI Energy can generate with its current asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Patterson-UTI Energy currently has. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a low 28.44%, which means Patterson-UTI Energy still has headroom to take on more leverage in order to increase profits.

NasdaqGS:PTEN 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. Patterson-UTI Energy’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 Patterson-UTI Energy, I’ve compiled three essential factors 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 Patterson-UTI Energy 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 Patterson-UTI Energy is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Patterson-UTI Energy? 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.