Is Nilfisk Holding A/S' (CPH:NLFSK) ROE Of 20% Impressive?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 23, 2022
CPSE:NLFSK
Source: Shutterstock

Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). By way of learning-by-doing, we'll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of Nilfisk Holding A/S (CPH:NLFSK).

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for Nilfisk Holding

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Nilfisk Holding is:

20% = €37m ÷ €188m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every DKK1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated DKK0.20 in profit.

Does Nilfisk Holding Have A Good ROE?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company's ROE is to compare it with the average in its industry. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As you can see in the graphic below, Nilfisk Holding has a higher ROE than the average (11%) in the Machinery industry.

roe
CPSE:NLFSK Return on Equity February 23rd 2022

That is a good sign. With that said, a high ROE doesn't always indicate high profitability. Especially when a firm uses high levels of debt to finance its debt which may boost its ROE but the high leverage puts the company at risk.

How Does Debt Impact ROE?

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. 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.

Combining Nilfisk Holding's Debt And Its 20% Return On Equity

Nilfisk Holding does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.64. There's no doubt its ROE is decent, but the very high debt the company carries is not too exciting to see. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.

Summary

Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. So you might want to check this FREE visualization of analyst 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.

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