Is China Aoyuan Group Limited (HKG:3883) A High Quality Stock To Own?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 27, 2021
SEHK:3883
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 China Aoyuan Group Limited (HKG:3883).

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for China Aoyuan Group

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for China Aoyuan Group is:

13% = CN¥7.1b ÷ CN¥54b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each HK$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made HK$0.13 in profit.

Does China Aoyuan Group Have A Good ROE?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, China Aoyuan Group has a better ROE than the average (8.3%) in the Real Estate industry.

roe
SEHK:3883 Return on Equity May 28th 2021

That's clearly a positive. With that said, a high ROE doesn't always indicate high profitability. Aside from changes in net income, a high ROE can also be the outcome of high debt relative to equity, which indicates risk. You can see the 2 risks we have identified for China Aoyuan Group by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow 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.

China Aoyuan Group's Debt And Its 13% ROE

China Aoyuan Group clearly uses a high amount of debt to boost returns, as it has a debt to equity ratio of 2.14. There's no doubt its ROE is decent, but the very high debt the company carries is not too exciting to see. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.

Conclusion

Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. 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. So I think it may be worth checking this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: China Aoyuan Group 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.

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