Will Georgia Healthcare Group PLC (LON:GHG) Continue To Underperform Its Industry?

Georgia Healthcare Group PLC (LSE:GHG) delivered an ROE of 8.38% over the past 12 months, which is relatively in-line with its industry average of 8.74% during the same period. But what is more interesting is whether GHG can sustain or improve on this level of return. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of GHG’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. Check out our latest analysis for Georgia Healthcare Group

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 8.38% implies £0.08 returned on every £1 invested, so the higher the return, the better. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Healthcare Facilities sector by choosing the highest returning stock. However, this can be deceiving as each company has varying costs of equity and debt levels, which could exaggeratedly push up ROE at the same time as 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 Georgia Healthcare Group’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.30%. Georgia Healthcare Group’s ROE exceeds its cost by 0.079%, which is a big tick. Some of its peers with higher ROE may face a cost which exceeds returns, which is unsustainable and far less desirable than Georgia Healthcare Group’s case of positive discrepancy. ROE can be split up into three useful 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

LSE:GHG Last Perf Feb 21st 18
LSE:GHG Last Perf Feb 21st 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Georgia Healthcare Group can make from its asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. We can determine if Georgia Healthcare Group’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 Georgia Healthcare Group’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands at a sensible 65.74%, meaning Georgia Healthcare Group has not taken on excessive debt to drive its returns. The company is able to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

LSE:GHG Historical Debt Feb 21st 18
LSE:GHG Historical Debt Feb 21st 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Although Georgia Healthcare Group’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, its returns are high enough to cover the cost of equity. Also, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Georgia Healthcare Group, there are three pertinent factors you should look at: