A Closer Look At PlayAGS, Inc.'s (NYSE:AGS) Uninspiring ROE

PlayAGS +2.71% Pre
 PlayAGS AGS 9.11 9.11 +2.71% 0.00% Pre

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. By way of learning-by-doing, we'll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of PlayAGS, Inc. (NYSE:AGS).

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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for PlayAGS

## How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for PlayAGS is:

4.6% = US\$2.9m ÷ US\$63m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every \$1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated \$0.05 in profit.

## Does PlayAGS Have A Good Return On Equity?

Arguably the easiest way to assess company's ROE is to compare it with the average in its industry. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. As is clear from the image below, PlayAGS has a lower ROE than the average (16%) in the Hospitality industry.

Unfortunately, that's sub-optimal. However, a low ROE is not always bad. If the company's debt levels are moderate to low, then there's still a chance that returns can be improved via the use of financial leverage. A company with high debt levels and low ROE is a combination we like to avoid given the risk involved. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for PlayAGS by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

## The Importance Of Debt To Return On Equity

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from retained earnings, issuing new shares (equity), or debt. 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. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

## Combining PlayAGS' Debt And Its 4.6% Return On Equity

We think PlayAGS uses a significant amount of debt to maximize its returns, as it has a significantly higher debt to equity ratio of 8.81. The combination of a rather low ROE and high debt to equity is a negative, in our book.

## Summary

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. All else being equal, a higher ROE is better.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. 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.

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.

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