Did MMG Limited (HKG:1208) Create Value For Shareholders?

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in MMG Limited (HKG:1208).

With an ROE of 11.72%, MMG Limited (HKG:1208) returned in-line to its own industry which delivered 9.35% over the past year. However, whether this ROE is actually impressive depends on if it can be maintained. This can be measured by looking at the company’s financial leverage. With more debt, 1208 can invest even more and earn more money, thus pushing up its returns. However, ROE only measures returns against equity, not debt. This can be distorted, so let’s take a look at it further. View out our latest analysis for MMG

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs MMG’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests HK$1 in the form of equity, it will generate HK$0.12 in earnings from this. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Diversified Metals and Mining sector by choosing the highest returning stock. However, this can be deceiving as each company has varying costs of equity and debt levels, which could exaggeratedly push up ROE at the same time as accumulating high interest expense.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for MMG, which is 13.51%. Given a discrepancy of -1.79% between return and cost, this indicated that MMG may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating in return. ROE can be broken down into three different ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

SEHK:1208 Last Perf June 12th 18
SEHK:1208 Last Perf June 12th 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from MMG’s asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. We can determine if MMG’s ROE is inflated by borrowing high levels of debt. Generally, a balanced capital structure means its returns will be sustainable over the long run. We can examine this by looking at MMG’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands is significantly high, above 2.5 times, meaning MMG has taken on a disproportionately large level of debt which is driving the high return. The company’s ability to produce profit growth hinges on its large debt burden.

SEHK:1208 Historical Debt June 12th 18
SEHK:1208 Historical Debt June 12th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. MMG’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average, though its returns were not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. With debt capital in excess of equity, ROE may be inflated by the use of debt funding, raising questions over the sustainability of the company’s returns. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For MMG, I’ve put together three important aspects you should further examine:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Valuation: What is MMG worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether MMG is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of MMG? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!