Should You Be Excited About Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation's (NYSE:BAH) 56% Return On Equity?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 06, 2021
NYSE:BAH
Source: Shutterstock

One of the best investments we can make is in our own knowledge and skill set. With that in mind, this article will work through how we can use Return On Equity (ROE) to better understand a business. To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH).

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity 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 Booz Allen Hamilton Holding is:

56% = US$590m ÷ US$1.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.56.

Does Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Have A Good Return On Equity?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. Pleasingly, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding has a superior ROE than the average (16%) in the Professional Services industry.

roe
NYSE:BAH Return on Equity December 6th 2021

That's what we like to see. Bear in mind, a high ROE doesn't always mean superior financial performance. Aside from changes in net income, a high ROE can also be the outcome of high debt relative to equity, which indicates risk. Our risks dashboardshould have the 2 risks we have identified for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Most companies need money -- from somewhere -- to grow their profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. That will make the ROE look better than if no debt was used.

Combining Booz Allen Hamilton Holding's Debt And Its 56% Return On Equity

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 2.73. While no doubt that its ROE is impressive, we would have been even more impressed had the company achieved this with lower debt. 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. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. 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.

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 report on analyst forecasts for the company.

But note: Booz Allen Hamilton Holding may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

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