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Is MTS Systems Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MTSC) ROE Of 12.23% Sustainable?

Jacob Boyd

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ:MTSC).

MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ:MTSC) outperformed the Electronic Equipment and Instruments industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 12.23% relative to the peer average of 10.91% over the past 12 months. On the surface, this looks fantastic since we know that MTSC 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 MTSC’s ROE. See our latest analysis for MTS Systems

Breaking down Return on Equity

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.12 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. MTS Systems’s cost of equity is 11.07%. This means MTS Systems returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 1.17%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be split up into three useful 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:MTSC Last Perf June 21st 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue MTS Systems can make from its asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt MTS Systems currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a sensible 86.77%, meaning the above-average ROE is due to its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGS:MTSC Historical Debt June 21st 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. MTS Systems’s above-industry ROE is encouraging, and is also in excess of its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

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