Stock Analysis

Should We Be Delighted With The Coca-Cola Company's (NYSE:KO) ROE Of 39%?

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NYSE:KO
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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 The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), by way of a worked example.

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.

View our latest analysis for Coca-Cola

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Coca-Cola is:

39% = US$9.6b ÷ US$25b (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2022).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.39 in profit.

Does Coca-Cola 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. Pleasingly, Coca-Cola has a superior ROE than the average (16%) in the Beverage industry.

roe
NYSE:KO Return on Equity September 28th 2022

That is a good sign. With that said, a high ROE doesn't always indicate high profitability. A higher proportion of debt in a company's capital structure may also result in a high ROE, where the high debt levels could be a huge risk . You can see the 2 risks we have identified for Coca-Cola by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

The Importance Of Debt To Return On Equity

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 case of the first and second options, the ROE will reflect this use of cash, for growth. 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.

Coca-Cola's Debt And Its 39% ROE

It's worth noting the high use of debt by Coca-Cola, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.73. While no doubt that its ROE is impressive, we would have been even more impressed had the company achieved this with lower debt. Investors should think carefully about how a company might perform if it was unable to borrow so easily, because credit markets do change over time.

Summary

Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. All else being equal, a higher ROE is better.

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 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Coca-Cola is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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About NYSE:KO

Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company, a beverage company, manufactures, markets, and sells various nonalcoholic beverages worldwide.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation4
Future Growth2
Past Performance4
Financial Health4
Dividends5

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Established dividend payer and good value.