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Should You Expect Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina Inc (NASDAQ:PEBK) To Continue Delivering An ROE Of 8.85%?

Brandie Wetzel

Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina Inc (NASDAQ:PEBK) outperformed the Regional Banks industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 8.85% relative to the peer average of 8.26% over the past 12 months. On the surface, this looks fantastic since we know that PEBK 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 PEBK’s ROE is. See our latest analysis for Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina

What you must know about ROE

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 8.85% implies $0.09 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

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, which is 9.91%. Given a discrepancy of -1.06% between return and cost, this indicated that Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina 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

NasdaqGM:PEBK Last Perf Apr 23rd 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina 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 inflated by excessive debt, we need to examine Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina’s debt-to-equity level. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a reasonable 50.33%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NasdaqGM:PEBK Historical Debt Apr 23rd 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. Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina’s above-industry ROE is noteworthy, but it was not high enough to cover its own 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. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, 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 Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina 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 Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina? 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.