Ryanair Holdings plc (ISE:RY4C) Delivered A Better ROE Than The Industry, Here’s Why

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Ryanair Holdings plc (ISE:RY4C) delivered an ROE of 28.22% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 23.64% during the same period. However, whether this above-industry ROE is actually impressive depends on if it can be maintained. This can be measured by looking at the company’s financial leverage. With more debt, RY4C can invest even more and earn more money, thus pushing up its returns. However, ROE only measures returns against equity, not debt. This can be distorted, so let’s take a look at it further.

Check out our latest analysis for Ryanair Holdings

Breaking down Return on Equity

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of 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 Airlines industry may want to choose the highest returning stock. But this can be misleading as each company has different costs of equity and also varying debt levels, which could artificially push up ROE whilst accumulating high interest expense.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Ryanair Holdings’s cost of equity is 8.22%. This means Ryanair Holdings returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 20.00%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates 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:

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

ISE:RY4C Last Perf August 3rd 18
ISE:RY4C Last Perf August 3rd 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Ryanair Holdings’s 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 Ryanair Holdings’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 Ryanair Holdings’s debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the ratio stands at 80.72%, which is reasonable. This means Ryanair Holdings has not taken on too much leverage, and its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a huge debt burden.

ISE:RY4C Historical Debt August 3rd 18
ISE:RY4C Historical Debt August 3rd 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Ryanair Holdings’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Ryanair Holdings, there are three fundamental aspects you should further examine:

  1. 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.
  2. Valuation: What is Ryanair Holdings 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 Ryanair Holdings is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Ryanair Holdings? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.