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Why ReneSola Ltd (NYSE:SOL) May Not Be As Efficient As Its Industry

Mercedes Harden

ReneSola Ltd (NYSE:SOL) delivered a less impressive 3.54% ROE over the past year, compared to the 13.62% return generated by its industry. Though SOL’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 SOL’s below-average returns. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of SOL’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. View our latest analysis for ReneSola

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of ReneSola’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 3.54% implies $0.04 returned on every $1 invested. 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. ReneSola’s cost of equity is 15.03%. Since ReneSola’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -11.50%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, ReneSola pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be broken down into three different 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

NYSE:SOL Last Perf May 16th 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 reveals how much revenue can be generated from ReneSola’s asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check ReneSola’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a balanced 120.06%, which means its ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NYSE:SOL Historical Debt May 16th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. ReneSola’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of ReneSola’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For ReneSola, there are three essential 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. Future Earnings: How does ReneSola’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 ReneSola? 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.