Can Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:APR.UN) Continue To Outperform Its Industry?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.

With an ROE of 20.8%, Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSE:APR.UN) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 10.7% over the past year. But what is more interesting is whether APR.UN can sustain this above-average ratio. A measure of sustainable returns is APR.UN’s financial leverage. If APR.UN borrows debt to invest in its business, its profits will be higher. But ROE does not capture any debt, so we only see high profits and low equity, which is great on the surface. But today let’s take a deeper dive below this surface.

See our latest analysis for Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Specialized REITs sector by choosing the highest returning stock. But this can be misleading as each company has different costs of equity and also varying debt levels, which could artificially push up ROE whilst accumulating high interest expense.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.5%. Since Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s return covers its cost in excess of 12.3%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust pays less 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

TSX:APR.UN Last Perf August 30th 18
TSX:APR.UN Last Perf August 30th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust can make from its 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. We can determine if Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s ROE is inflated by borrowing high levels of debt. Generally, a balanced capital structure means its returns will be sustainable over the long run. We can examine this by looking at Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands at a high 151%, meaning Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust may have taken on a disproportionate level of debt which is driving the high return. The company’s ability to produce profit growth may hinge on its big debt burden.

TSX:APR.UN Historical Debt August 30th 18
TSX:APR.UN Historical Debt August 30th 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. Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust’s above-industry ROE is encouraging, and is also in excess of its cost of equity. With debt capital in excess of equity, ROE may be inflated by the use of debt funding, raising questions over the sustainability of the company’s returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, I’ve put together three important aspects you should further examine:

  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 Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust 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 Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust? 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.