Stock Analysis

How Did McCormick & Company, Incorporated's (NYSE:MKC) 15% ROE Fare Against The Industry?

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Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE). To keep the lesson grounded in practicality, we'll use ROE to better understand McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC).

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for McCormick

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for McCormick is:

15% = US$683m ÷ US$4.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.15 in profit.

Does McCormick Have A Good ROE?

One simple way to determine if a company has a good return on equity is to compare it to the average for its industry. The limitation of this approach is that some companies are quite different from others, even within the same industry classification. You can see in the graphic below that McCormick has an ROE that is fairly close to the average for the Food industry (13%).

NYSE:MKC Return on Equity September 29th 2022

That isn't amazing, but it is respectable. While at least the ROE is not lower than the industry, its still worth checking what role the company's debt plays as high debt levels relative to equity may also make the ROE appear high. If so, this increases its exposure to financial risk. To know the 2 risks we have identified for McCormick visit our risks dashboard for free.

Why You Should Consider Debt When Looking At ROE

Most companies need money -- from somewhere -- to grow their profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. In the first and second cases, the ROE will reflect this use of cash for investment in the business. In the latter case, the use of debt will improve the returns, but will not change the equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

Combining McCormick's Debt And Its 15% Return On Equity

It's worth noting the high use of debt by McCormick, leading to its debt to equity ratio of 1.16. While its ROE is respectable, it is worth keeping in mind that there is usually a limit as to how much debt a company can use. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.


Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. A company that can achieve a high return on equity without debt could be considered a high quality business. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

Having said that, while ROE is a useful indicator of business quality, you'll have to look at a whole range of factors to determine the right price to buy a stock. The rate at which profits are likely to grow, relative to the expectations of profit growth reflected in the current price, must be considered, too. So I think it may be worth checking this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether McCormick is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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McCormick & Company, Incorporated manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavorful products to the food industry.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Future Growth1
Past Performance2
Financial Health2

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Established dividend payer with questionable track record.