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Is CRH plc’s (ISE:CRG) ROE Of 12.10% Sustainable?

Ashwin Virk

This article is intended for those of you who are at the beginning of your investing journey and want a simplistic look at the return on CRH plc (ISE:CRG) stock.

CRH plc (ISE:CRG) delivered an ROE of 12.10% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 9.58% during the same period. On the surface, this looks fantastic since we know that CRG has made large profits from little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us if management have borrowed heavily to make this happen. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of CRG’s ROE. View out our latest analysis for CRH

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs CRH’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 12.10% implies €0.12 returned on every €1 invested. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. CRH’s cost of equity is 9.86%. Given a positive discrepancy of 2.24% between return and cost, this indicates that CRH 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

ISE:CRG Last Perf June 21st 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue CRH 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 CRH’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a reasonable 53.35%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

ISE:CRG Historical Debt June 21st 18

Next Steps:

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

For CRH, I’ve put together 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. Valuation: What is CRH 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 CRH is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of CRH? 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.