Stock Analysis

What You Must Know About Telecom Italia SpA's (BIT:TIT) Return on Equity

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BIT:TIT
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This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today's market.

Telecom Italia SpA (BIT:TIT) delivered a less impressive 5.4% ROE over the past year, compared to the 9.3% return generated by its industry. TIT's results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on TIT’s performance. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of TIT's returns. Let me show you what I mean by this.

Check out our latest analysis for Telecom Italia

What you must know about ROE

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Telecom Italia’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Integrated Telecommunication Services sector by choosing 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

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Telecom Italia’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 13.6%. Since Telecom Italia’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -8.2%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, Telecom Italia pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be split up into three useful 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

BIT:TIT Last Perf September 27th 18
BIT:TIT Last Perf September 27th 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 Telecom Italia’s asset base. Finally, financial leverage will be our main focus today. It shows how much of assets are funded by equity and can show how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. We can determine if Telecom Italia’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 Telecom Italia’s debt-to-equity ratio. The most recent ratio is 132%, which is relatively proportionate and indicates Telecom Italia has not taken on extreme leverage. Thus, we can conclude its current ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a massive debt burden.

BIT:TIT Historical Debt September 27th 18
BIT:TIT Historical Debt September 27th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Telecom Italia’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, and its returns were also not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. However, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Telecom Italia, there are three essential aspects you should look at:

  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 Telecom Italia 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 Telecom Italia is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Telecom Italia? 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.

Simply Wall St analyst Simply Wall St and Simply Wall St have no position in any of the companies mentioned. This article is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

About BIT:TIT

Telecom Italia

Telecom Italia S.p.A., together with its subsidiaries, provides fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Italy and internationally.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation5
Future Growth4
Past Performance0
Financial Health0
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Undervalued with reasonable growth potential.