In this article, let´s see one of the most important financial ratios applying to stockholders, the best measure of performance for a firm's management: the Return on Equity (ROE), and we are going to analyze it in the case of Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), the leading provider of enterprise technology solutions, offering software, services and hardware.
ROE is calculated as net income applicable to common shares divided by the average book value of common equity: ROE = Net Income / Av. Book Value
A higher ROE is viewed as a positive aspect for the company, but the reason behind it should be examine. From the equation above, we can see that if book value is decreasing more rapidly than net income, the ratio will increase, but this is not good for the firm.
This approach can be used to analyze the ROE. With some algebra we can break down ROE into a function of different ratios. Firstly, we are going to consider the original approach:
Original Dupont Equation: Three-Part Dupont
Taking the ROE equation: ROE = net income / shareholder's equity and multiplying ROE by (revenue / revenue), and rearranging terms we get:
ROE = (net income / revenue) * (revenue / shareholder's equity)
We now have ROE broken into two parts, the first is net profit margin, and the second is the equity turnover ratio. Now we can expand this by multiplying these terms by (assets / assets), and rearranging we end up with the three-step DuPont equation.
ROE = (Net Income / Revenue) * (Revenue / Assets) * (Assets / Shareholder's Equity)
This equation for ROE breaks it into three widely used and studied components:
ROE = (Net profit margin)* (Asset Turnover) * (Leverage ratio)
The first term is what we called previously net profit margin, the second term is asset turnover and the third tem is a financial leverage ratio. If we have a low ROE, one of the following must be true:
- The firm has a poor profit margin
- The firm has a poor asset turnover
- The firm has a little leverage
ROE (%) 3 Step
Net Profit Margin
As outlined in the article, a key ratio used to determine management efficiency is the ROE. Let´s see the evolution on the next chart:
As we can appreciate, the ROE has increased and it can be attributed to the rise in profitability as measured by the Net Profit Margin and the decline in financial leverage, which I think it is a very good thing and based on it I would recommend this stock. Further, the ROE of Oracle is ranked higher than 95% of the 1548 Companies in the Software - Infrastructure industry.
Hedge fund gurus have also been active in the company. Gurus like Louis Moore Bacon (Trades, Portfolio), Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio) and James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio) have bought the stock in the first quarter of 2014.
Disclosure: Omar Venerio holds no position in any stocks mentioned.