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Why Franklin Electric Co Inc. (NASDAQ:FELE) Delivered An Inferior ROE Compared To The Industry

Liliana Gabriel

Franklin Electric Co Inc. (NASDAQ:FELE) delivered a less impressive 11.16% ROE over the past year, compared to the 11.71% return generated by its industry. Though FELE’s recent performance is underwhelming, it is useful to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components can change your views on FELE’s below-average returns. Today I will look at how components such as financial leverage can influence ROE which may impact the sustainability of FELE’s returns. Check out our latest analysis for Franklin Electric

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

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs Franklin Electric’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.11 in earnings from this. 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 Franklin Electric, which is 9.66%. Some of Franklin Electric’s peers may have a higher ROE but its cost of equity could exceed this return, leading to an unsustainable negative discrepancy i.e. the company spends more than it earns. This is not the case for Franklin Electric which is reassuring. ROE can be split up into three useful 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:FELE Last Perf May 1st 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 shows how much revenue Franklin Electric 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 financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Franklin Electric currently has. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a low 32.10%, which means Franklin Electric still has headroom to take on more leverage in order to increase profits.

NasdaqGS:FELE Historical Debt May 1st 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. Although Franklin Electric’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, its returns are high enough to cover the cost of equity. Also, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Franklin Electric, I’ve put together three key factors you should look at:

  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 Franklin Electric 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 Franklin Electric is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Franklin Electric? 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.