Is Sbanken ASA’s (OB:SBANK) 11.00% ROE Strong Compared To Its Industry?

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 Sbanken ASA (OB:SBANK).

With an ROE of 11.00%, Sbanken ASA (OB:SBANK) returned in-line to its own industry which delivered 9.57% over the past year. But what is more interesting is whether SBANK can sustain this level of return. A measure of sustainable returns is SBANK’s financial leverage. If SBANK borrows debt to invest in its business, its profits will be higher. But ROE does not capture any debt, so we only see high profits and low equity, which is great on the surface. But today let’s take a deeper dive below this surface. View out our latest analysis for Sbanken

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Sbanken’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. If investors diversify their portfolio by industry, they may want to maximise their return in the Diversified Banks sector by investing in 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 measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Sbanken’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.40%. This means Sbanken returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 2.60%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct 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

OB:SBANK Last Perf June 12th 18
OB:SBANK Last Perf June 12th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Sbanken’s asset base. Finally, financial leverage will be our main focus today. It shows how much of assets are funded by equity and can show how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. We can determine if Sbanken’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 Sbanken’s debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the ratio stands at more than 2.5 times, which is very high. This means Sbanken’s above-average ROE is being driven by its significant debt levels and its ability to grow profit hinges on a significant debt burden.

OB:SBANK Historical Debt June 12th 18
OB:SBANK Historical Debt June 12th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Sbanken’s above-industry ROE is encouraging, and is also in excess of its 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. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Sbanken, there are three essential aspects you should look at:

  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 Sbanken 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 Sbanken is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Sbanken? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!