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Is Southern Copper Corporation’s (NYSE:SCCO) 13.91% ROE Strong Compared To Its Industry?

Rowena Monahan

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO).

Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) outperformed the Copper industry on the basis of its ROE – producing a higher 13.91% relative to the peer average of 11.07% over the past 12 months. On the surface, this looks fantastic since we know that SCCO has made large profits from little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us if management have borrowed heavily to make this happen. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some factors like financial leverage to see how sustainable SCCO’s ROE is. See our latest analysis for Southern Copper

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Southern Copper’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.14 in earnings from this. In most cases, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are many other factors we must consider prior to making any investment decisions.

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 Southern Copper, which is 10.99%. This means Southern Copper returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 2.92%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. 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

NYSE:SCCO Last Perf June 26th 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 Southern Copper can make from its 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 Southern Copper’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a balanced 93.25%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NYSE:SCCO Historical Debt June 26th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Southern Copper’s above-industry ROE is encouraging, and is also in excess of its 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 Southern Copper, 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 Southern Copper 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 Southern Copper is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Southern Copper? 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.