Skip to content

Return on Equity (ROE)

Understanding how efficiently a company uses its shareholders’ equity to generate profits is crucial for both current shareholders and potential investors. That’s where Return on Equity (ROE) comes into play. ROE is a financial metric that helps investors gauge the profitability of a company relative to the equity held by its shareholders.


ROE=Net IncomeShareholders’ Equity\text{ROE} = \frac{\text{Net Income}}{\text{Shareholders' Equity}}
  • Net Income\text{Net Income} is the profit a company has earned over a specific period, usually a year.
  • Shareholders’ Equity\text{Shareholders' Equity} is the shareholders’ claim on assets after all liabilities have been paid off, essentially the company’s net worth from the shareholders’ point of view.

Example Calculation

Let’s take the hypothetical Company XYZ:

  • Net Income: $2,000,000
  • Shareholders’ Equity: $10,000,000

Plug these values into the formula:

ROE=2,000,00010,000,000=0.20 or 20%\text{ROE} = \frac{2{,}000{,}000}{10{,}000{,}000} = 0.20 \text{ or } 20\%

This means that for every dollar of equity invested by shareholders, Company XYZ generates 20 cents in profit.

Why ROE Matters

ROE is especially useful because it allows investors to compare the profitability of companies in the same industry, irrespective of their size. A consistently high ROE indicates effective management and a profitable business model, making the company more appealing to investors.

However, like all financial metrics, ROE should not be viewed in isolation. Companies with very high ROEs could be taking on excessive debt, influencing their net income. Hence, it’s beneficial to consider other metrics such as Return on Assets (ROA) and Debt to Equity Ratio for a more comprehensive analysis.

Practical Uses for Investors

When analyzing a potential investment, investors can use ROE for the following:

  1. Comparing Competitors: Companies within the same sector can be compared using ROE to identify the most efficient user of equity capital.
  2. Trend Analysis: Investors can track a company’s ROE over multiple years to assess whether profitability is improving or deteriorating.
  3. Management Performance: A steady or increasing ROE is typically a sign that management is delivering good returns on shareholder investment.


In summary, ROE is a pivotal metric that sheds light on how well a company is utilizing its equity base to generate profits. By incorporating this measurement into your stock analysis toolkit, you can make more informed investment decisions.