With A Return On Equity Of 22%, Has Elco Ltd.'s (TLV:ELCO) Management Done Well?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 11, 2022
TASE:ELCO
Source: Shutterstock

Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). We'll use ROE to examine Elco Ltd. (TLV:ELCO), by way of a worked example.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Elco

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Elco is:

22% = ₪960m ÷ ₪4.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every ₪1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn ₪0.22 in profit.

Does Elco Have A Good Return On Equity?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. The image below shows that Elco has an ROE that is roughly in line with the Construction industry average (22%).

roe
TASE:ELCO Return on Equity May 11th 2022

That's neither particularly good, nor bad. Even if the ROE is respectable when compared to the industry, its worth checking if the firm's ROE is being aided by high debt levels. If so, this increases its exposure to financial risk. You can see the 2 risks we have identified for Elco 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. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. In the case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. In the latter case, the use of debt will improve the returns, but will not change the equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

Combining Elco's Debt And Its 22% Return On Equity

Elco does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.27. Its ROE is pretty impressive but, it would have probably been lower without the use of debt. Investors should think carefully about how a company might perform if it was unable to borrow so easily, because credit markets do change over time.

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. If two companies have around the same level of debt to equity, and one has a higher ROE, I'd generally prefer the one with higher ROE.

But when a business is high quality, the market often bids it up to a price that reflects this. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. You can see how the company has grow in the past by looking at this FREE detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course Elco 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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