June 15, 2024

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Why Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY) Looks Like A Quality Company

Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). We’ll use ROE to examine Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY), by way of a worked example.

Our data shows Avery Dennison has a return on equity of 25% for the last year. One way to conceptualize this, is that for each $1 of shareholders’ equity it has, the company made $0.25 in profit.

See our latest analysis for Avery Dennison

How Do You Calculate ROE?

The formula for ROE is:

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

Or for Avery Dennison:

25% = US$304m ÷ US$1.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Most know that net profit is the total earnings after all expenses, but the concept of shareholders’ equity is a little more complicated. It is all earnings retained by the company, plus any capital paid in by shareholders. You can calculate shareholders’ equity by subtracting the company’s total liabilities from its total assets.

What Does ROE Mean?

Return on Equity measures a company’s profitability against the profit it has kept for the business (plus any capital injections). The ‘return’ is the profit over the last twelve months. A higher profit will lead to a higher ROE. So, all else equal, investors should like a high ROE. That means it can be interesting to compare the ROE of different companies.

Does Avery Dennison 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. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. Pleasingly, Avery Dennison has a superior ROE than the average (16%) company in the Packaging industry.

NYSE:AVY Past Revenue and Net Income, February 24th 2020

That’s what I like to see. I usually take a closer look when a company has a better ROE than industry peers. For example you might check if insiders are buying shares.

How Does Debt Impact ROE?

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 two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. 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 Avery Dennison’s Debt And Its 25% Return On Equity

Avery Dennison does use a significant amount of debt to increase returns. It has a debt to equity ratio of 1.47. I think the ROE is impressive, but it would have been assisted by the use of debt. Debt does bring extra risk, so it’s only really worthwhile when a company generates some decent returns from it.

In Summary

Return on equity is a useful indicator of the ability of a business to generate profits and return them to shareholders. 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. 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 check this FREE visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course Avery Dennison 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected]. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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