Boasting A 33% Return On Equity, Is Malibu Boats, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBUU) A Top Quality Stock?

One of the best investments we can make is in our own knowledge and skill set. With that in mind, this article will work through how we can use Return On Equity (ROE) to better understand a business. We’ll use ROE to examine Malibu Boats, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBUU), by way of a worked example.

Malibu Boats has a ROE of 33%, based on the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity in the company, it was able to earn $0.33.

Check out our latest analysis for Malibu Boats

How Do I Calculate ROE?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

Or for Malibu Boats:

33% = US$77m ÷ US$232m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Most readers would understand what net profit is, but it’s worth explaining the concept of shareholders’ equity. It is all the money paid into the company from shareholders, plus any earnings retained. You can calculate shareholders’ equity by subtracting the company’s total liabilities from its total assets.

What Does ROE Signify?

ROE looks at the amount a company earns relative to the money it has kept within the business. The ‘return’ is the profit over the last twelve months. The higher the ROE, the more profit the company is making. So, as a general rule, a high ROE is a good thing. That means ROE can be used to compare two businesses.

Does Malibu Boats Have A Good Return On Equity?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, Malibu Boats has a better ROE than the average (13%) in the Leisure industry.

NasdaqGM:MBUU Past Revenue and Net Income, February 25th 2020
NasdaqGM:MBUU Past Revenue and Net Income, February 25th 2020

That is a good sign. We think a high ROE, alone, is usually enough to justify further research into a company. For example you might check if insiders are buying shares.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the debt required for growth will boost returns, but will not impact the shareholders’ equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining Malibu Boats’s Debt And Its 33% Return On Equity

Malibu Boats has a debt to equity ratio of 0.40, which is far from excessive. The combination of modest debt and a very impressive ROE does suggest that the business is high quality. Careful use of debt to boost returns is often very good for shareholders. However, it could reduce the company’s ability to take advantage of future opportunities.

The Bottom Line On ROE

Return on equity is a useful indicator of the ability of a business to generate profits and return them to shareholders. In my book the highest quality companies have high return on equity, despite low debt. All else being equal, a higher ROE is better.

But when a business is high quality, the market often bids it up to a price that reflects this. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.