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Is Summit Materials Inc’s (NYSE:SUM) ROE Of 10.11% Sustainable?

Mercedes Harden

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning the link between Summit Materials Inc (NYSE:SUM)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

With an ROE of 10.11%, Summit Materials Inc (NYSE:SUM) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 9.66% over the past year. While the impressive ratio tells us that SUM has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if SUM has borrowed debt to make this happen. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some factors like financial leverage to see how sustainable SUM’s ROE is. See our latest analysis for Summit Materials

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of 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

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. Summit Materials’s cost of equity is 10.66%. Given a discrepancy of -0.55% between return and cost, this indicated that Summit Materials may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating 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:SUM Last Perf June 25th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue Summit Materials 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 artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Summit Materials’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a balanced 148.75%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NYSE:SUM Historical Debt June 25th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Summit Materials’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average, though its returns were not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Summit Materials, I’ve compiled three fundamental factors 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 Summit Materials 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 Summit Materials is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Summit Materials? 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.