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Is NIKE Inc’s (NYSE:NKE) ROE Of 32.88% Sustainable?

Frank Brewer

With an ROE of 32.88%, NIKE Inc (NYSE:NKE) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 10.95% over the past year. While the impressive ratio tells us that NKE has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if NKE has borrowed debt to make this happen. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether NKE’s ROE is actually sustainable. View our latest analysis for NIKE

What you must know about ROE

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of NIKE’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 32.88% implies $0.33 returned on every $1 invested. 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

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of NIKE’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.49%. Given a positive discrepancy of 24.39% between return and cost, this indicates that NIKE pays less for its capital than what it generates in return, which is a sign of capital efficiency. 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

NYSE:NKE Last Perf Mar 17th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue NIKE 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 NIKE currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a low 40.07%, meaning the above-average ROE is due to its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NYSE:NKE Historical Debt Mar 17th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. NIKE’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers 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 NIKE, there are three pertinent 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 NIKE 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 NIKE is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of NIKE? 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.