Australia markets open in 2 hours 56 minutes
• ### ALL ORDS

7,890.10
+30.70 (+0.39%)

• ### AUD/USD

0.6522
+0.0021 (+0.32%)

• ### ASX 200

7,680.60
+31.00 (+0.41%)

• ### OIL

73.03
+0.09 (+0.12%)

• ### GOLD

2,429.20
-15.20 (-0.62%)

• ### Bitcoin AUD

86,616.74
+2,630.37 (+3.13%)

1,308.28
0.00 (0.00%)

# Should We Be Delighted With McMillan Shakespeare Limited's (ASX:MMS) ROE Of 57%?

While some investors are already well versed in financial metrics (hat tip), this article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE) and why it is important. By way of learning-by-doing, we'll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX:MMS).

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for McMillan Shakespeare

## How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 McMillan Shakespeare is:

57% = AU\$76m ÷ AU\$133m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A\$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A\$0.57 in profit.

## Does McMillan Shakespeare 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. Pleasingly, McMillan Shakespeare has a superior ROE than the average (13%) in the Professional Services industry.

That's what we like to see. Bear in mind, a high ROE doesn't always mean superior financial performance. 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 3 risks we have identified for McMillan Shakespeare by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

## How Does Debt Impact ROE?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow 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 used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

## McMillan Shakespeare's Debt And Its 57% ROE

It appears that McMillan Shakespeare makes extensive use of debt to improve its returns, because it has an alarmingly high debt to equity ratio of 3.16. While its ROE is no doubt quite impressive, it could give a false impression about the company's returns given that its huge debt could be boosting those returns.

## 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 when a business is high quality, the market often bids it up to a price that reflects this. 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.

If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com