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With A Recent ROE Of 3.39%, Can QIAGEN NV (NASDAQ:QGEN) Catch Up To Its Industry?

Sam Bishop

QIAGEN NV’s (NASDAQ:QGEN) most recent return on equity was a substandard 3.39% relative to its industry performance of 10.18% over the past year. An investor may attribute an inferior ROE to a relatively inefficient performance, and whilst this can often be the case, knowing the nuts and bolts of the ROE calculation may change that perspective and give you a deeper insight into QGEN’s past performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of QGEN’s returns. See our latest analysis for QIAGEN

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs QIAGEN’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.03 in earnings from this. 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

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of QIAGEN’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.49%. This means QIAGEN’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -5.10%. This isn’t sustainable as it implies, very simply, that the company pays more 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:QGEN Last Perf Jan 8th 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 QIAGEN 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 QIAGEN currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a sensible 68.96%, meaning the ROE is a result of its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGS:QGEN Historical Debt Jan 8th 18

What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? QGEN exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Since its existing ROE is not fuelled by unsustainable debt, investors shouldn’t give up as QGEN still has capacity to improve shareholder returns by borrowing to invest in new projects in the future. If you’re looking for new ideas for high-returning stocks, you should take a look at our free platform to see the list of stocks with Return on Equity over 20%.

Are you a potential investor? If you are considering investing in QGEN, basing your decision on ROE alone is certainly not sufficient. I recommend you do additional fundamental analysis by looking through our most recent infographic report on QIAGEN to help you make a more informed investment decision.


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.