How Read-Gene SA. (WSE:RDG) Delivered A Better ROE Than Its Industry

With an ROE of 18.37%, Read-Gene SA. (WSE:RDG) returned in-line to its own industry which delivered 17.87% over the past year. But what is more interesting is whether RDG can sustain this level of return. A measure of sustainable returns is RDG’s financial leverage. If RDG borrows debt to invest in its business, its profits will be higher. But ROE does not capture any debt, so we only see high profits and low equity, which is great on the surface. But today let’s take a deeper dive below this surface. Check out our latest analysis for Read-Gene

What you must know about ROE

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. Investors seeking to maximise their return in the Biotechnology industry may want to choose 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Read-Gene’s cost of equity is 8.67%. Given a positive discrepancy of 9.71% between return and cost, this indicates that Read-Gene pays less for its capital than what it generates in return, which is a sign of capital efficiency. ROE can be dissected into three distinct 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

WSE:RDG Last Perf Apr 6th 18
WSE:RDG Last Perf Apr 6th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Read-Gene’s asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. ROE can be inflated by disproportionately high levels of debt. This is also unsustainable due to the high interest cost that the company will also incur. Thus, we should look at Read-Gene’s debt-to-equity ratio to examine sustainability of its returns. Currently, Read-Gene has no debt which means its returns are driven purely by equity capital. Therefore, the level of financial leverage has no impact on ROE, and the ratio is a representative measure of the efficiency of all its capital employed firm-wide.

WSE:RDG Historical Debt Apr 6th 18
WSE:RDG Historical Debt Apr 6th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. Read-Gene exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, as well as sufficient returns to cover its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Read-Gene, there are three important aspects you should look at: