Stock Analysis

Read This Before Judging Masonite International Corporation's (NYSE:DOOR) ROE

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NYSE:DOOR
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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). We'll use ROE to examine Masonite International Corporation (NYSE:DOOR), 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. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

View our latest analysis for Masonite International

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Masonite International is:

7.4% = US$48m ÷ US$646m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.07 in profit.

Does Masonite International 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. Importantly, this is far from a perfect measure, because companies differ significantly within the same industry classification. As shown in the graphic below, Masonite International has a lower ROE than the average (18%) in the Building industry classification.

roe
NYSE:DOOR Return on Equity December 29th 2020

That's not what we like to see. However, a low ROE is not always bad. If the company's debt levels are moderate to low, then there's still a chance that returns can be improved via the use of financial leverage. When a company has low ROE but high debt levels, we would be cautious as the risk involved is too high. To know the 3 risks we have identified for Masonite International visit our risks dashboard for free.

How Does Debt Impact ROE?

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their 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 required for growth will boost returns, but will not impact the shareholders' equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

Masonite International's Debt And Its 7.4% ROE

Masonite International clearly uses a high amount of debt to boost returns, as it has a debt to equity ratio of 1.23. With a fairly low ROE, and significant use of debt, it's hard to get excited about this business at the moment. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.

Conclusion

Return on equity is useful for comparing the quality of different businesses. A company that can achieve a high return on equity without debt could be considered a high quality business. If two companies have around the same level of debt to equity, and one has a higher ROE, I'd generally prefer the one with higher ROE.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. It is important to consider other factors, such as future profit growth -- and how much investment is required going forward. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

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About NYSE:DOOR

Masonite International

Masonite International Corporation designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes interior and exterior doors for the new construction and repair, renovation, and remodeling sectors of the residential and non-residential building construction markets worldwide.

Undervalued with mediocre balance sheet.