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What is Behind KAZ Minerals PLC’s (LON:KAZ) Superior ROE?

Ashwin Virk

KAZ Minerals PLC (LSE:KAZ) delivered an ROE of 44.79% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 10.94% during the same period. On the surface, this looks fantastic since we know that KAZ has made large profits from little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us if management have borrowed heavily to make this happen. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some factors like financial leverage to see how sustainable KAZ’s ROE is. See our latest analysis for KAZ Minerals

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of KAZ Minerals’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 44.79% implies £0.45 returned on every £1 invested. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. KAZ Minerals’s cost of equity is 13.40%. This means KAZ Minerals returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 31.39%. 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

LSE:KAZ Last Perf May 16th 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 shows how much revenue KAZ Minerals can generate with its current 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. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check KAZ Minerals’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at more than 2.5 times, which means its above-average ROE is driven by significant debt levels.

LSE:KAZ Historical Debt May 16th 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. KAZ Minerals’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 KAZ Minerals, I’ve put together three relevant 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. Valuation: What is KAZ Minerals 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 KAZ Minerals is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of KAZ Minerals? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!


To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.