# 1 Simple Number To Understand 3 Important Areas Of Singapore Telecommunications Limited

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74) or Singtel, is one of the three main telcos in Singapore. The group operates in three business segments, namely, Consumer, Enterprise and Digital Life.

In this article, I want to dig deep into Singtel’s return on equity, or ROE.

The choice of ROE

Why ROE, some of you might be asking? That’s because the financial metric gives investors important insights on a company’s ability to generate a profit using the shareholders’ capital it has.

A ROE of 20% means that a company generates \$0.20 in profit for every dollar of shareholders’ capital invested. In general, the higher the ROE, the more profitable a company is. A high ROE can also be a sign that a company has a high-quality business.

That being said, it’s worth noting that the use of high leverage – which increases the financial risk faced by a company – can also increase a company’s ROE. So, that’s something to observe.

Calculating ROE

The ROE can be calculated using the following formula, which is the way many investors follow:

ROE = Net Profit / Shareholder’s Equity

But,  ROE can also be calculated using a different approach shown below:

ROE = Asset Turnover x Net Profit Margin x Leverage Ratio

Doing so will reveal three important aspects about a company: how well it is managing its assets, how efficient it is at turning revenue into profit, and how much financial risk it could be taking on. For more information about this formula for ROE, you can check out the link here.

With that, let’s turn our attention to the ROE of Singtel.

The actual numbers

The asset turnover measures the efficiency of a company in using its assets to generate revenue. It is calculated by dividing a company’s total revenue by its assets.

For Singtel, it had total revenue of S\$17.5 billion and total assets of S\$ 48.3 billion for its fiscal year ended 31 March 2018 (FY2018). This gives an asset turnover of 0.36.

The net profit margin measures the percentage of revenue that is left as a profit after deduction of all expenses. In FY2018, Singtel had a net profit margin of 30.9%, given its net profit of S\$5.4 billion and revenue of S\$ 17.5 billion.

Lastly, we have the leverage ratio, which shows the relationship of a company’s total assets to its equity. It is calculated by dividing total assets by equity. A higher ratio means that a company is funding its assets with more liabilities, hence resulting in higher risk. In FY2018, Singtel had total assets and total equity of S\$48.3 billion and S\$29.7 billion respectively. This gives a leverage ratio of 1.63.

When we put all the numbers together, we arrive at an ROE of 18% for Singtel.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Lawrence Nga doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.