Should Officina Stellare S.p.A. (BIT:OS) Focus On Improving This Fundamental Metric?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
August 26, 2021
BIT:OS
Source: Shutterstock

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. We'll use ROE to examine Officina Stellare S.p.A. (BIT:OS), by way of a worked example.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Officina Stellare

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Officina Stellare is:

3.8% = €303k ÷ €8.0m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every €1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of €0.04.

Does Officina Stellare 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 shown in the graphic below, Officina Stellare has a lower ROE than the average (9.0%) in the Aerospace & Defense industry classification.

roe
BIT:OS Return on Equity August 27th 2021

That's not what we like to see. That being said, a low ROE is not always a bad thing, especially if the company has low leverage as this still leaves room for improvement if the company were to take on more debt. A high debt company having a low ROE is a different story altogether and a risky investment in our books. You can see the 5 risks we have identified for Officina Stellare by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, 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. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining Officina Stellare's Debt And Its 3.8% Return On Equity

Officina Stellare has a debt to equity ratio of 0.74, which is far from excessive. Its ROE is rather low, and it does use some debt, albeit not much. That's not great to see. Conservative use of debt to boost returns is usually a good move for shareholders, though it does leave the company more exposed to interest rate rises.

Summary

Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. In our books, the highest quality companies have high return on equity, despite low debt. All else being equal, a higher ROE is better.

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. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

But note: Officina Stellare 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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