Can Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc (EPA:MLCMB) Maintain Its Strong Returns?

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. By way of learning-by-doing, we’ll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc (EPA:MLCMB).

Our data shows Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc has a return on equity of 9.2% for the last year. One way to conceptualize this, is that for each €1 of shareholders’ equity it has, the company made €0.092 in profit.

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How Do I Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

Or for Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc:

9.2% = 9.093 ÷ €113m (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2018.)

Most know that net profit is the total earnings after all expenses, but the concept of shareholders’ equity is a little more complicated. It is the capital paid in by shareholders, plus any retained earnings. You can calculate shareholders’ equity by subtracting the company’s total liabilities from its total assets.

What Does ROE Signify?

Return on Equity measures a company’s profitability against the profit it has kept for the business (plus any capital injections). The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. A higher profit will lead to a higher ROE. So, all else equal, investors should like a high ROE. That means it can be interesting to compare the ROE of different companies.

Does Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc Have A Good Return On Equity?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company’s ROE is to compare it with the average in 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, Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc has a better ROE than the average (6.7%) in the Hospitality industry.

ENXTPA:MLCMB Last Perf January 30th 19
ENXTPA:MLCMB Last Perf January 30th 19

That’s clearly a positive. I usually take a closer look when a company has a better ROE than industry peers. For example, I often check if insiders have been buying shares .

The Importance Of Debt To Return On Equity

Most companies need money — from somewhere — to grow their profits. The cash for investment can come from prior year profits (retained earnings), issuing new shares, or borrowing. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the use of debt will improve the returns, but will not change the equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc’s Debt And Its 9.2% Return On Equity

It’s worth noting the significant use of debt by Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.20. while its ROE is respectable, it is worth keeping in mind that there is usually a limit to how much debt a company can use. Debt does bring extra risk, so it’s only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

In Summary

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. Check the past profit growth by Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc by looking at this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Compagnie Du Mont-Blanc 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.

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.