Stock Analysis

# Should Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. (BME:FCC) Focus On Improving This Fundamental Metric?

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While some investors are already well versed in financial metrics (hat tip), this article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE) and why it is important. To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. (BME:FCC).

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas

## How Do You 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 Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas is:

9.7% = €478m ÷ €4.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every €1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated €0.10 in profit.

## Does Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas Have A Good Return On Equity?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. If you look at the image below, you can see Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas has a lower ROE than the average (13%) in the Construction industry classification.

That's not what we like to see. However, a low ROE is not always bad. If the company's debt levels are moderate to low, then there's still a chance that returns can be improved via the use of financial leverage. A company with high debt levels and low ROE is a combination we like to avoid given the risk involved. You can see the 5 risks we have identified for Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

## How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, 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 used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

## Combining Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas' Debt And Its 9.7% Return On Equity

Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.00. With a fairly low ROE, and significant use of debt, it's hard to get excited about this business at the moment. 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 one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. In our books, the highest quality companies have high return on equity, despite low debt. If two companies have around the same level of debt to equity, and one has a higher ROE, I'd generally prefer the one with higher ROE.

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 check this FREE visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas 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.

### Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

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