Did Hubify Limited (ASX:HFY) Use Debt To Deliver Its ROE Of 3.4%?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 12, 2022
ASX:HFY
Source: Shutterstock

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. To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand Hubify Limited (ASX:HFY).

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Hubify

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Hubify is:

3.4% = AU$408k ÷ AU$12m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every A$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated A$0.03 in profit.

Does Hubify Have A Good ROE?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. The image below shows that Hubify has an ROE that is roughly in line with the Telecom industry average (3.9%).

roe
ASX:HFY Return on Equity May 12th 2022

That isn't amazing, but it is respectable. Although the ROE is similar to the industry, we should still perform further checks to see if the company's ROE is being boosted by high debt levels. If a company takes on too much debt, it is at higher risk of defaulting on interest payments. Our risks dashboardshould have the 4 risks we have identified for Hubify.

How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. The cash for investment can come from prior year profits (retained earnings), issuing new shares, or borrowing. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

Hubify's Debt And Its 3.4% ROE

Although Hubify does use a little debt, its debt to equity ratio of just 0.011 is very low. Its ROE is certainly on the low side, and since it already uses debt, we're not too excited about the company. Judicious use of debt to improve returns can certainly be a good thing, although it does elevate risk slightly and reduce future optionality.

Summary

Return on equity is a useful indicator of the ability of a business to generate profits and return them to shareholders. A company that can achieve a high return on equity without debt could be considered a high quality business. 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. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. You can see how the company has grow in the past by looking at this FREE detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Hubify may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

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