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Can Park National Corporation (NYSEMKT:PRK) Continue To Outperform Its Industry?

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Dane Simmons
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Park National Corporation (AMEX:PRK) outperformed the Regional Banks industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 12.63% relative to the peer average of 8.48% over the past 12 months. Superficially, this looks great since we know that PRK has generated big profits with little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us how much PRK has borrowed in debt. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether PRK’s ROE is actually sustainable. See our latest analysis for Park National

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Park National’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 12.63% implies $0.13 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Park National’s cost of equity is 9.90%. Given a positive discrepancy of 2.73% between return and cost, this indicates that Park National pays less for its capital than what it generates in return, which is a sign of capital efficiency. 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

AMEX:PRK Last Perf May 21st 18
AMEX:PRK Last Perf May 21st 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Park National can generate with its current 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 Park National’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. At 82.91%, Park National’s debt-to-equity ratio appears sensible and indicates the above-average ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.

AMEX:PRK Historical Debt May 21st 18
AMEX:PRK Historical Debt May 21st 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Park National exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, as well as sufficient returns to cover 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. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Park National, there are three fundamental 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. Valuation: What is Park National 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 Park National is currently mispriced by the market.

  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Park National? 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.