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Did Seneca Foods Corporation (NASDAQ:SENE.A) Create Value For Investors Over The Past Year?

Gavin Beck

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning the link between Seneca Foods Corporation (NASDAQ:SENE.A)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

Seneca Foods Corporation (NASDAQ:SENE.A) generated a below-average return on equity of 0.95% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 11.96%. SENE.A’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 SENE.A’s performance. Today I will look at how components such as financial leverage can influence ROE which may impact the sustainability of SENE.A’s returns. Check out our latest analysis for Seneca Foods

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Seneca Foods’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. 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. Seneca Foods’s cost of equity is 11.59%. Given a discrepancy of -10.64% between return and cost, this indicated that Seneca Foods 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

NasdaqGS:SENE.A Last Perf June 27th 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 Seneca Foods 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 Seneca Foods’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. At 105.07%, Seneca Foods’s debt-to-equity ratio appears balanced and indicates its ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.

NasdaqGS:SENE.A Historical Debt June 27th 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. Seneca Foods 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 Seneca Foods’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Seneca Foods, I’ve compiled three relevant aspects 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. Future Earnings: How does Seneca Foods’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 Seneca Foods? 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.