With An ROE Of 56.55%, Has ChemoCentryx Inc’s (NASDAQ:CCXI) Management Done Well?

This article is intended for those of you who are at the beginning of your investing journey and want to begin learning the link between ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

ChemoCentryx Inc (NASDAQ:CCXI) delivered an ROE of 56.55% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 18.07% during the same period. But what is more interesting is whether CCXI can sustain this above-average ratio. A measure of sustainable returns is CCXI’s financial leverage. If CCXI 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. Check out our latest analysis for ChemoCentryx

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 56.55% implies $0.57 returned on every $1 invested, so the higher the return, the better. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Biotechnology sector by choosing 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 ChemoCentryx 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. ChemoCentryx’s cost of equity is 10.61%. This means ChemoCentryx returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 45.94%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates 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

NasdaqGS:CCXI Last Perf July 2nd 18
NasdaqGS:CCXI Last Perf July 2nd 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 ChemoCentryx’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 ChemoCentryx’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 ChemoCentryx’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands at a sensible 18.41%, meaning ChemoCentryx has not taken on excessive debt to drive its returns. The company is able to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGS:CCXI Historical Debt July 2nd 18
NasdaqGS:CCXI Historical Debt July 2nd 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. ChemoCentryx’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers its cost of equity. Its high ROE is not likely to be driven by high debt. Therefore, investors may have more confidence in the sustainability of this level of returns going forward. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For ChemoCentryx, I’ve compiled three relevant 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. Future Earnings: How does ChemoCentryx’s growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of ChemoCentryx? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!