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Will Deltic Timber Corporation (NYSE:DEL) Continue To Underperform Its Industry?

Ricardo Crouch

Deltic Timber Corporation’s (NYSE:DEL) most recent return on equity was a substandard 2.56% relative to its industry performance of 12.30% over the past year. DEL’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on DEL’s performance. Today I will look at how components such as financial leverage can influence ROE which may impact the sustainability of DEL’s returns. Check out our latest analysis for Deltic Timber

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

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Deltic Timber’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.03 in earnings from this. In most cases, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are many other factors we must consider prior to making any investment decisions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Deltic Timber’s cost of equity is 10.29%. Given a discrepancy of -7.73% between return and cost, this indicated that Deltic Timber may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating 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

NYSE:DEL Last Perf Mar 22nd 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Deltic Timber can generate with its current 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. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Deltic Timber currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a balanced 90.34%, meaning the ROE is a result of its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NYSE:DEL Historical Debt Mar 22nd 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Deltic Timber exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Deltic Timber’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Deltic Timber, there are three relevant factors 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. Valuation: What is Deltic Timber 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 Deltic Timber is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Deltic Timber? 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.