Spire Healthcare Group Plc (LSE:SPI) delivered a less impressive 1.62% ROE over the past year, compared to the 8.74% return generated by its industry. SPI’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on SPI’s performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of SPI’s returns. See our latest analysis for Spire Healthcare Group
Breaking down Return on Equity
Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Spire Healthcare Group’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 seeking to maximise their return in the Healthcare Facilities industry may want to choose the highest returning stock. However, this can be misleading as each firm has different costs of equity and debt levels i.e. the more debt Spire Healthcare Group has, the higher ROE is pumped up in the short term, at the expense of long term interest payment burden.
Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity
ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Spire Healthcare Group’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 4.80%. Given a discrepancy of -3.18% between return and cost, this indicated that Spire Healthcare Group may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating 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:
ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage
ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)
ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity
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 Spire 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 Spire 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 Spire Healthcare Group’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands at a sensible 48.37%, meaning Spire 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 and still has headroom to grow returns to industry average.
ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Spire Healthcare Group’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, and its returns were also not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Spire Healthcare Group’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.
For Spire Healthcare Group, there are three essential aspects you should further examine:
- 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.
- Valuation: What is Spire Healthcare Group 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 Spire Healthcare Group is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Spire Healthcare Group? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!