Prior to its 2010 merger with FirstEnergy, Allegheny Energy owned and operated electric generation facilities and delivered electricity in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.
A company creates wealth for its long-term shareholders in 2 main ways - through dividend payments and through the accumulation of retained earnings. This graph shows the accumulation of per-share equity of long-term shareholders (green bars), which consists of the retained earnings plus all capital invested in the company, and the cumulative dividends the company has paid over time per share of its stock (blue bars).
In the words of Warren Buffett: "We're looking for... businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt."
Return on equity is a key metric of financial performance, indicating a company's ability to generate earnings using shareholder capital. Over time, ROE is one of the major determinants of the rate at which a company creates shareholder wealth. The average ROE for large U.S. companies is 12%, and many investors use it as a threshold for attractive investments.
Companies can boost ROE by increasing leverage, which reduces the safety of the investment. Therefore, it is useful to look at the return on assets (ROA), which measures a company's earning power regardless of its capital structure. A widening gap between ROE and ROA may be a warning sign that should be thoroughly investigated.
Earnings per share is a popular metric used to value a company (using P/E ratio); growth in EPS is often used to judge company growth potential. However, many investors believe that EPS is an inferior metric to ROE, because it ignores the amount of capital the company used to generate earnings.
Free cash flow shows how much cash a company generates from operations, above and beyond what is required to maintain or expand its productive assets. This cash can be returned to investors, or spent by management on growing the company or paying back its debts.
Balance sheets of many companies contain intangible assets such as goodwill, trademarks, patents, etc. Many investors consider intangibles more difficult to value than physical assets. If intangible assets had been valued incorrectly, they must be impaired, resulting in a loss charged against shareholder equity. This chart demonstrates the potential loss to shareholder equity from such impairments.
Companies often use debt financing to increase their return on equity. However, as the amount of debt financing increases relative to the amount of equity financing, the company becomes more sensitive to down turns and other negative events. As a result, many investors use the ratio of debt to equity as a measure of a company's financial risk, and avoid companies that have this ratio above 1.
This chart shows shareholder equity as a percentage of total assets, allowing investors to judge the overall leverage. Companies with a higher proportion of equity can be viewed as safer investments. This metric is particularly important for highly leveraged institutions, such as banks, where it must be at least 4% according to government regulations.
The ratio of current assets to current liabilities is known as the current ratio. This metric is a quick measure of the company's ability to pay its short-term obligations. A current ratio below 1 is a warning sign that should be investigated, especially for companies that cannot count on adequate cash flow from operations.
This chart shows the cumulative dilution of investor ownership in a company over time. Dilution reduces an investor's participation in the future earnings. Dilution increases when a company issues new shares, and decreases when a company buys its shares back. Many investors avoid companies with large chronic dilution.
analysis provides insight into factors affecting the Return On Equity of a company.
The DuPont equation decomposes ROE as follows:
ROE = (Net margin) * (Asset turnover) * (Asset to equity ratio)
Net margin indicates operating efficiency, Asset turnover measures the total asset use efficiency, and the Asset to equity ratio is a measure of financial leverage.
The dividend payout ratio tells investors what percentage of earnings a company returns to shareholders, and what percentage it retains and reinvests. This ratio represents a major capital allocation decision by the company, and can be used to judge management rationality. Rational management should pay out all earnings that cannot be productively reinvested. Therefore, a low dividend payout ratio for a profitable company with a low growth potential may be a warning sign.
Many investors use the P/B ratio as a quick way of judging company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - specifically seek out companies with low P/B ratios. However, investors should be careful not to make investment decisions on this metric alone, without considering a company's earning and growth potential, since a low P/B ratio can be a sign of a bleak future for the business.
P/E ratio is a popular way of making a quick judgment of a company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - often seek solid companies with low P/E ratios as investment opportunities. However, P/E ratio represents an oversimplified approach to business valuation, and can often lead to incorrect investment decisions.
On May 2, 2001, the Company announced that it had closed the public offering of its common stock, selling a total of 14.26 million shares. The approximately $667 million net proceeds from the offering were used to fund the Company's announced acquisition of generating facilities in the Midwest and for other corporate purposes.
In April 2005, the holders of $295.0 million of the outstanding $300.0 million 11 7/8% Mandatorily Convertible Trust Preferred Securities (the "Trust Preferred Securities") issued by Allegheny Capital Trust I ("Capital Trust") accepted AE and Capital Trust's tender offer and consent solicitation. Under the terms of the offer, for each $1,000 in liquidation amount of Trust Preferred Securities tendered, a holder received 83.33 shares of AE common stock and $160 in cash. On April 22, 2005, AE issued an aggregate of 24.6 million shares of its common stock and $47.2 million in cash to the holders of the tendered Trust Preferred Securities. In accordance with SFAS No. 84, "Induced Conversions of Convertible Debt," the $47.2 million cash payment will be expensed during the second quarter of 2005. This amount represents the difference between the fair value transferred in the transaction in excess of the fair value of the securities issuable pursuant to the original conversion terms. In addition, AE received the required consents from holders of the Trust Preferred Securities for amendments to the indenture governing AE's 11 7/8% Notes due 2008. The holder of the remaining $5.0 million in liquidation amount of Trust Preferred Securities converted its Trust Preferred Securities into 416,650 shares of AE common stock on May 3, 2005.
On February 10, 2010, AE entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with FirstEnergy Corp. Upon the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Merger Agreement, AE will become a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstEnergy. The Merger is intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and be tax-free to AE stockholders. Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, upon completion of the Merger, each issued and outstanding share of AE's common stock, including grants of restricted stock, will automatically be converted into the right to receive 0.667 of a share of the common stock of FirstEnergy. This ratio is fixed, and the Merger Agreement does not provide for any adjustment to reflect stock price changes prior to completion of the Merger. FirstEnergy Corp. announced that its merger with Allegheny Energy, Inc. has closed, effective February 25, 2011.