Read This Before Judging The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.'s (NYSE:EL) ROE

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. Class A -2.52%
 Estee Lauder Companies Inc. Class A EL 134.75 -2.52%

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. To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE:EL).

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Estée Lauder Companies

## 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 Estée Lauder Companies is:

9.0% = US\$556m ÷ US\$6.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every \$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn \$0.09 in profit.

## Does Estée Lauder Companies Have A Good Return On Equity?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. 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, Estée Lauder Companies has a lower ROE than the average (13%) in the Personal Products industry.

That's not what we like to see. Although, we think that a lower ROE could still mean that a company has the opportunity to better its returns with the use of leverage, provided its existing debt levels are low. A company with high debt levels and low ROE is a combination we like to avoid given the risk involved. To know the 4 risks we have identified for Estée Lauder Companies visit our risks dashboard for free.

## How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Virtually all companies need money to invest in the business, to grow profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. In this manner the use of debt will boost ROE, even though the core economics of the business stay the same.

## Combining Estée Lauder Companies' Debt And Its 9.0% Return On Equity

Estée Lauder Companies does use a high amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.34. Its ROE is quite low, even with the use of significant debt; that's not a good result, in our opinion. Debt does bring extra risk, so it's only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

## Conclusion

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.

But when a business is high quality, the market often bids it up to a price that reflects this. Profit growth rates, versus the expectations reflected in the price of the stock, are a particularly important to consider. So I think it may be worth checking this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Estée Lauder Companies may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have high ROE and low debt.