Will Ansaldo STS Sp.A. (BIT:STS) Continue To Underperform Its Industry?

With an ROE of 9.22%, Ansaldo STS Sp.A. (BIT:STS) returned in-line to its own industry which delivered 11.20% over the past year. But what is more interesting is whether STS can sustain or improve on this level of return. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of STS’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. Check out our latest analysis for Ansaldo STS

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Ansaldo STS’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 Highways and Railtracks sector by choosing the highest returning stock. However, this can be misleading as each firm has different costs of equity and debt levels i.e. the more debt Ansaldo STS has, the higher ROE is pumped up in the short term, at the expense of long term interest payment burden.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Ansaldo STS’s cost of equity is 8.40%. While Ansaldo STS’s peers may have higher ROE, it may also incur higher cost of equity. An undesirable and unsustainable practice would be if returns exceeded cost. However, this is not the case for Ansaldo STS which is encouraging. 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:STS Last Perf May 26th 18
BIT:STS Last Perf May 26th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Ansaldo STS can make from its 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 Ansaldo STS’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 Ansaldo STS’s debt-to-equity ratio. Currently Ansaldo STS has virtually no debt, which means its returns are predominantly driven by equity capital. This could explain why Ansaldo STS’s’ ROE is lower than its industry peers, most of which may have some degree of debt in its business.

BIT:STS Historical Debt May 26th 18
BIT:STS Historical Debt May 26th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. While Ansaldo STS exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, its returns are sufficient enough to cover its cost of equity. Its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Ansaldo STS’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Ansaldo STS, there are three key factors 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 Ansaldo STS 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 Ansaldo STS is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Ansaldo STS? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!