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Will TriMas Corporation (NASDAQ:TRS) Continue To Underperform Its Industry?

Lester Strauss

TriMas Corporation’s (NASDAQ:TRS) most recent return on equity was a substandard 8.54% relative to its industry performance of 11.58% over the past year. TRS’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 TRS’s performance. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of TRS’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. View our latest analysis for TriMas

Breaking down ROE — the mother of all ratios

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs TriMas’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.09 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 TriMas, which is 10.26%. Given a discrepancy of -1.72% between return and cost, this indicated that TriMas may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating 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

NasdaqGS:TRS Last Perf May 23rd 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue TriMas can generate with its current asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt TriMas currently has. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a reasonable 53.33%, which means its ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NasdaqGS:TRS Historical Debt May 23rd 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. TriMas exhibits a weak ROE against its peers, as well as insufficient levels to cover its own cost of equity this year. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of TriMas’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For TriMas, I’ve put together three pertinent aspects 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 TriMas 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 TriMas is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of TriMas? 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.