Should You Be Impressed By CIMC Enric Holdings Limited’s (HKG:3899) ROE?

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 CIMC Enric Holdings Limited (HKG:3899).

CIMC Enric Holdings has a ROE of 12%, based on the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this, is that for each HK$1 of shareholders’ equity it has, the company made HK$0.12 in profit.

Check out our latest analysis for CIMC Enric Holdings

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

Or for CIMC Enric Holdings:

12% = CN¥786m ÷ CN¥6.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 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. The easiest way to calculate shareholders’ equity is to subtract the company’s total liabilities from the total assets.

What Does Return On Equity Signify?

ROE measures a company’s profitability against the profit it retains, and any outside investments. The ‘return’ is the profit over the last twelve months. The higher the ROE, the more profit the company is making. So, as a general rule, a high ROE is a good thing. Clearly, then, one can use ROE to compare different companies.

Does CIMC Enric Holdings 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. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As you can see in the graphic below, CIMC Enric Holdings has a higher ROE than the average (9.4%) in the Machinery industry.

SEHK:3899 Past Revenue and Net Income, March 23rd 2019
SEHK:3899 Past Revenue and Net Income, March 23rd 2019

That’s clearly a positive. In my book, a high ROE almost always warrants a closer look. 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 case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won’t affect the total equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining CIMC Enric Holdings’s Debt And Its 12% Return On Equity

Although CIMC Enric Holdings does use debt, its debt to equity ratio of 0.19 is still low. Its very respectable ROE, combined with only modest debt, suggests the business is in good shape. Careful use of debt to boost returns is often very good for shareholders. However, it could reduce the company’s ability to take advantage of future opportunities.

The Bottom Line On ROE

Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

Having said that, while ROE is a useful indicator of business quality, you’ll have to look at a whole range of factors to determine the right price to buy a stock. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. So I think it may be worth checking this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

If you would prefer check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.