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How Did KMG Chemicals Inc’s (NYSE:KMG) 6.69% ROE Fare Against The Industry?

Devin Koller

KMG Chemicals Inc (NYSE:KMG) generated a below-average return on equity of 6.69% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 13.52%. KMG’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 KMG’s performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of KMG’s returns. View our latest analysis for KMG Chemicals

What you must know about ROE

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs KMG Chemicals’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 6.69% implies $0.07 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

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of KMG Chemicals’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 9.77%. Given a discrepancy of -3.09% between return and cost, this indicated that KMG Chemicals may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating 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

NYSE:KMG Last Perf Mar 7th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue KMG Chemicals can make from its 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 KMG Chemicals’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a balanced 99.40%, meaning the ROE is a result of its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NYSE:KMG Historical Debt Mar 7th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. KMG Chemicals’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. However, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For KMG Chemicals, I’ve compiled three fundamental factors you should further examine:

  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 KMG Chemicals 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 KMG Chemicals is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of KMG Chemicals? 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.