Taking A Look At Comeco S.A.'s (WSE:CMC) ROE

Simply Wall St
January 25, 2022
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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 Comeco S.A. (WSE:CMC), 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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Comeco

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

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

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

9.9% = zł195k ÷ zł2.0m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each PLN1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made PLN0.10 in profit.

Does Comeco 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. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. You can see in the graphic below that Comeco has an ROE that is fairly close to the average for the Chemicals industry (9.8%).

WSE:CMC Return on Equity January 25th 2022

So while the ROE is not exceptional, at least its acceptable. Although the ROE is similar to the industry, we should still perform further checks to see if the company's ROE is being boosted by high debt levels. If so, this increases its exposure to financial risk. Our risks dashboardshould have the 4 risks we have identified for Comeco.

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 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. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

Comeco's Debt And Its 9.9% ROE

It's worth noting the high use of debt by Comeco, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.25. The combination of a rather low ROE and significant use of debt is not particularly appealing. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.


Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

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. The rate at which profits are likely to grow, relative to the expectations of profit growth reflected in the current price, must be considered, too. So I think it may be worth checking this free this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course Comeco 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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