With An ROE Of 5.77%, Has Corporación América Airports SA’s (NYSE:CAAP) Management Done Well?

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to begin learning the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Corporación América Airports SA (NYSE:CAAP) generated a below-average return on equity of 5.77% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 11.89%. CAAP’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on CAAP’s performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of CAAP’s returns.

View our latest analysis for Corporación América Airports

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Corporación América Airports’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.058 in earnings from this. Investors seeking to maximise their return in the Airport Services industry may want to choose the highest returning stock. However, this can be misleading as each firm has different costs of equity and debt levels i.e. the more debt Corporación América Airports has, the higher ROE is pumped up in the short term, at the expense of long term interest payment burden.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Corporación América Airports, which is 8.67%. Since Corporación América Airports’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -2.91%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, Corporación América Airports pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. 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

NYSE:CAAP Last Perf August 22nd 18
NYSE:CAAP Last Perf August 22nd 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Corporación América Airports’s asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. We can assess whether Corporación América Airports is fuelling ROE by excessively raising debt. Ideally, Corporación América Airports should have a balanced capital structure, which we can check by looking at the historic debt-to-equity ratio of the company. The most recent ratio is 120.93%, which is relatively proportionate and indicates Corporación América Airports has not taken on extreme leverage. Thus, we can conclude its current ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a massive debt burden.

NYSE:CAAP Historical Debt August 22nd 18
NYSE:CAAP Historical Debt August 22nd 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. Corporación América Airports exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Corporación América Airports’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Corporación América Airports, there are three pertinent aspects you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Future Earnings: How does Corporación América Airports’s growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Corporación América Airports? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.