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Silvercorp Metals Inc (TSE:SVM) outperformed the Silver industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 15.3% relative to the peer average of 11.6% over the past 12 months. While the impressive ratio tells us that SVM has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if SVM has borrowed debt to make this happen. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether SVM’s ROE is actually sustainable.
Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability
Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Silvercorp Metals’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing 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 Silvercorp Metals, which is 15.7%. This means Silvercorp Metals’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -0.4%. 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:
ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage
ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)
ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity
Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from Silvercorp Metals’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 inflated by excessive debt, we need to examine Silvercorp Metals’s debt-to-equity level. At 1.2%, Silvercorp Metals’s debt-to-equity ratio appears low and indicates the above-average ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.
ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Silvercorp Metals’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average, though its returns were not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. Its high ROE is not likely to be driven by high debt. Therefore, investors may have more confidence in the sustainability of this level of returns going forward. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.
For Silvercorp Metals, there are three fundamental factors you should further examine:
- 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.
- Valuation: What is Silvercorp Metals 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 Silvercorp Metals is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Silvercorp Metals? 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 past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.