Is Space Hellas S.A.'s (ATH:SPACE) ROE Of 9.7% Concerning?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
August 25, 2021
ATSE:SPACE
Source: Shutterstock

One of the best investments we can make is in our own knowledge and skill set. With that in mind, this article will work through how we can use Return On Equity (ROE) to better understand a business. To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand Space Hellas S.A. (ATH:SPACE).

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Space Hellas

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Space Hellas is:

9.7% = €1.8m ÷ €18m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every €1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn €0.10 in profit.

Does Space Hellas Have A Good ROE?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company's ROE is to compare it with the average in its industry. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, Space Hellas has a lower ROE than the average (13%) in the IT industry.

roe
ATSE:SPACE Return on Equity August 26th 2021

That's not what we like to see. Although, we think that a lower ROE could still mean that a company has the opportunity to better its returns with the use of leverage, provided its existing debt levels are low. A high debt company having a low ROE is a different story altogether and a risky investment in our books. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Space Hellas visit our risks dashboard for free.

The Importance Of Debt To Return On Equity

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt required for growth will boost returns, but will not impact the shareholders' equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

Combining Space Hellas' Debt And Its 9.7% Return On Equity

Space Hellas does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 2.22. The combination of a rather low ROE and significant use of debt is not particularly appealing. Debt does bring extra risk, so it's only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

Summary

Return on equity is a useful indicator of the ability of a business to generate profits and return them to shareholders. A company that can achieve a high return on equity without debt could be considered a high quality business. 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. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. Check the past profit growth by Space Hellas by looking at this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course Space Hellas may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have high ROE and low debt.

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