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Is SAP SE’s (FRA:SAP) 16.48% ROE Strong Compared To Its Industry?

Dale Lombardi

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in SAP SE (FRA:SAP).

SAP SE (FRA:SAP) delivered an ROE of 16.48% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 11.92% during the same period. While the impressive ratio tells us that SAP has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if SAP has borrowed debt to make this happen. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of SAP’s ROE. Check out our latest analysis for SAP

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of SAP’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. 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 assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for SAP, which is 9.75%. Given a positive discrepancy of 6.73% between return and cost, this indicates that SAP 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

DB:SAP Last Perf June 22nd 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 reveals how much revenue can be generated from SAP’s 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 SAP’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a low 31.43%, meaning the above-average ROE is due to its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

DB:SAP Historical Debt June 22nd 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. SAP’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 SAP, I’ve put together 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 SAP 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 SAP is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of SAP? 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.