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With An ROE Of 3.62%, Can National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) Catch Up To The Industry?

Michael Crabtree

National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) generated a below-average return on equity of 3.62% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 7.30%. NSA’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on NSA’s performance. Today I will look at how components such as financial leverage can influence ROE which may impact the sustainability of NSA’s returns. View our latest analysis for National Storage Affiliates Trust

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of National Storage Affiliates Trust’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.04 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. National Storage Affiliates Trust’s cost of equity is 8.49%. Since National Storage Affiliates Trust’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -4.88%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, National Storage Affiliates Trust pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct 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:NSA Last Perf Apr 3rd 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 National Storage Affiliates Trust 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 ROE can be inflated by excessive debt, we need to examine National Storage Affiliates Trust’s debt-to-equity level. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a sensible 75.35%, meaning the ROE is a result of its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NYSE:NSA Historical Debt Apr 3rd 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. National Storage Affiliates Trust’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. However, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For National Storage Affiliates Trust, 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 National Storage Affiliates Trust 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 National Storage Affiliates Trust is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of National Storage Affiliates Trust? 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.