Sparebank 1 Nordvest (OB:SNOR) Delivered A Better ROE Than The Industry, Here’s Why

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to begin learning the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Sparebank 1 Nordvest (OB:SNOR) delivered an ROE of 9.93% over the past 12 months, which is relatively in-line with its industry average of 9.57% during the same period. But what is more interesting is whether SNOR can sustain this level of return. Sustainability can be gauged by a company’s financial leverage – the more debt it has, the higher ROE is pumped up in the short term, at the expense of long term interest payment burden. Let me show you what I mean by this. Check out our latest analysis for Sparebank 1 Nordvest

What you must know about ROE

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of 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 Regional Banks sector by investing in the highest returning stock. However, this can be misleading as each firm has different costs of equity and debt levels i.e. the more debt Sparebank 1 Nordvest has, the higher ROE is pumped up in the short term, at the expense of long term interest payment burden.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.40%. Given a positive discrepancy of 1.53% between return and cost, this indicates that Sparebank 1 Nordvest pays less for its capital than what it generates in return, which is a sign of capital efficiency. 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:SNOR Last Perf July 13th 18
OB:SNOR Last Perf July 13th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Sparebank 1 Nordvest’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 Sparebank 1 Nordvest’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 Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the ratio stands at 201.41%, which is relatively high. This means Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s above-average ROE may be driven by its high leverage and its ability to grow profit hinges on a large debt burden.

OB:SNOR Historical Debt July 13th 18
OB:SNOR Historical Debt July 13th 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. Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s above-industry ROE is encouraging, and is also in excess of its cost of equity. Its high debt level means its strong ROE may be driven by debt funding which raises concerns over the sustainability of Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Sparebank 1 Nordvest, there are three essential aspects you should further research:

  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. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market’s sentiment for Sparebank 1 Nordvest’s future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Sparebank 1 Nordvest? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!