Financial Calculators

Return On Equity Calculator

This ROE calculator allows you to quickly calculate ROE (return-on-equity) based upon the net income generated as well as the total equity of the company/project.

Return on Equity (ROE) Calculator

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Table of contents

What Does Return On Equity Mean?
Performance of Stocks and Return on Equity
ROE, Sustainable Growth Rate
Estimating the Dividend Growth rate
Use Return on Equity to Identify Issues
Inconsistent profits
Excessive Debt
Negative Net income
Limitations on the Return on Equity
Return on Equity vs. Return on Invested Capital

What Does Return On Equity Mean?

The ROE rating of a stock depends on what is considered normal. For example, utilities may have more assets and debt than they make in net income. Normal ROE levels in the utility sector may be less than 10%. Normal ROE levels may be higher for retail or technology firms that have smaller balance sheets than their net income.
The best rule of thumb when aiming for ROE is to aim at an ROE equal or just above that of its sector (those within the same industry). Consider TechCo as an example. TechCo's ROE has been stable at 18% over the years compared with the 15% average for its peers. An investor could conclude TechCo's management has mastered the art of using its assets to generate profits.
Relatively high and low ROE rates will vary from one sector or industry to the next. However, investors can take a shortcut and consider a return-on-equity ratio that is near the S&P 500 long-term average (14%) as acceptable. Anything less than 10% is considered poor.

Performance of Stocks and Return on Equity

ROE can be used for estimating dividend growth rates and sustainable growth rates. It assumes that the ratios are roughly in line with their peer group averages. ROE can provide a starting point for future estimates of a stock’s growth rate and dividends growth rate. These two calculations are functions one another and can be used in order to make easier comparisons between similar companies.
Multiply the ROE and the retention factor to estimate the company's future rate of growth. The retention rate is the percentage of net income that the company retains or invests in future growth.

ROE, Sustainable Growth Rate

Imagine that two companies have identical ROEs and net earnings, but different retention ratios. Company A's ROE is 15%. It returns 30% of its net profits to shareholders in dividends. Company A, on the other hand, retains 70%. Business B is also a 15% ROE, but it returns only 10% of net income to shareholders. This gives it a retention ratio of 90%.
For Company A, it is 10.5%. This is ROE multiplied by the retention ratio of 15% times 70%. The growth rate in Business B is 13.5%. That's 15% times 90.
This analysis is called the sustainable growth rate modeling. This model is useful for investors who want to project the future or identify stocks that have a high risk of becoming too optimistic about their sustainability growth. If a stock is growing at a slower speed than its sustainable rate, it could be undervalued. The market could also be discounting any risky signs. In both cases, a growth rate significantly above or below the sustainable rates warrants further investigation.

Estimating the Dividend Growth rate

While it seems that Business B is more attractive than Company A, for this reason, it doesn't take into consideration the benefits of a higher rate of dividend. It is possible to modify the calculation to determine the stock's growth rate in dividends. This could be more important for income investors.
The dividend yield can easily be calculated by multiplying ROE times the payout ratio. The payout ratio is the percentage that net income is returned to common shareholders via dividends. This formula provides a sustainable dividend rate that favors Company A.
To continue with the previous example: Company A's dividend growth is 4.5% or ROE multiplied by the payout ratio (which is 15%x30). Business B's yield growth rate for dividends is 1.5%. That is 15% times 10. Risks should be identified if a stock increases its dividend much faster than or slower than the sustainable growth rate.

Use Return on Equity to Identify Issues

It's understandable to wonder why an ROE slightly below or above average is better than an ROE doubled, tripled, or higher than its peer group. Stocks with a very high ROE can be more valuable.
An extremely high ROE could be an indicator of strong company performance. However, an extremely high ROE may be due to a small equity balance compared to net earnings, which can indicate risk.

Inconsistent profits

Unstable profits are the first issue that could arise from a high ROE. LossCo is a company that has been struggling for years. Each year, LossCo is recorded on the equity balance sheet as a "retained loss." These losses represent a loss and decrease shareholders' equity.
Now let's assume LossCo has experienced a financial windfall in recent years and is back to profitability. The ROE calculation's denominator is now very small, as a result of years of losses. This makes the ROE misleadingly high.

Excessive Debt

Excessive borrowing is another problem that could lead to high ROE. An excessive amount of debt can raise ROE as equity equals assets less debt. The higher the company's debt, the more equity it can lose. It is common for a company to borrow large amounts of capital in order to buy back its stock. This can lead to higher earnings per share (EPS) but does not impact actual performance or growth rates.

Negative Net income

Negative net income, as well as negative shareholders' equity, can result in artificially high ROE. ROE should never be calculated if the company has negative shareholders' equity or a net loss.
Negative shareholders' equity can lead to excessive debt, inconsistent profitability, and other issues. Companies that are profitable and use cash flow to buy their shares back can make exceptions to this rule. This can be an alternative to paying dividends. However, it can reduce equity (buybacks subtract from equity) enough that the calculation becomes negative.
A negative ROE ratio or an extremely high ROE should be looked into in all cases. Rarely, a negative ROE could be due to excellent management or a cash-flow-supported share buy program, but this is less likely. Any company with a negative ROE is not able to be compared against stocks with positive ROE.

Limitations on the Return on Equity

However, a high ROE could not always be a good sign. An exaggerated ROE could be indicative of many problems such as poor profits or excessive borrowing. The ROE of a company with a net loss, or negative shareholders equity, cannot be used to analyze the company. Nor can it be used against companies that have a positive ROE.

Return on Equity vs. Return on Invested Capital

ROE refers to how much profit the company can make relative to shareholders' equity. Return of invested capital (ROIC), goes a step further.
ROIC's purpose is to calculate the company’s total cash flow after dividends, based on all of its capital sources. This includes equity from shareholders and debt. ROE measures the efficiency of a company's use of shareholders’ equity. ROIC measures the efficiency with which a company makes money from all sources.
Parmis Kazemi
Article author
Parmis Kazemi
Parmis is a content creator who has a passion for writing and creating new things. She is also highly interested in tech and enjoys learning new things.
Return On Equity Calculator English
Published: Mon Feb 28 2022
In category Financial calculators
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