Read This Before Judging Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis, S.A.'s (ELI:GVOLT) ROE

By
Simply Wall St
Published
May 10, 2022
ENXTLS:GVOLT
Source: Shutterstock

Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis, S.A. (ELI:GVOLT).

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

Check out our latest analysis for Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis is:

3.7% = €13m ÷ €350m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each €1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made €0.04 in profit.

Does Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis Have A Good ROE?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company's ROE is to compare it with the average in its industry. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis has a lower ROE than the average (8.1%) in the Renewable Energy industry.

roe
ENXTLS:GVOLT Return on Equity May 10th 2022

That's not what we like to see. Although, we think that a lower ROE could still mean that a company has the opportunity to better its returns with the use of leverage, provided its existing debt levels are low. A high debt company having a low ROE is a different story altogether and a risky investment in our books. Our risks dashboard should have the 2 risks we have identified for Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. The cash for investment can come from prior year profits (retained earnings), issuing new shares, or borrowing. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

Combining Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis' Debt And Its 3.7% Return On Equity

Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.26. The combination of a rather low ROE and significant use of debt is not particularly appealing. Debt does bring extra risk, so it's only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

Conclusion

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. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. 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 you might want to check this FREE visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Greenvolt - Energias Renováveis 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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