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Why Kraton Corporation’s (NYSE:KRA) ROE Of 10.93% Does Not Tell The Whole Story

Ricardo Landis

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.

Kraton Corporation (NYSE:KRA) delivered a less impressive 10.93% ROE over the past year, compared to the 13.51% return generated by its industry. An investor may attribute an inferior ROE to a relatively inefficient performance, and whilst this can often be the case, knowing the nuts and bolts of the ROE calculation may change that perspective and give you a deeper insight into KRA’s past performance. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of KRA’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this.

See our latest analysis for Kraton

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

Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Kraton’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. An ROE of 10.93% implies $0.11 returned on every $1 invested. 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 measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Kraton’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 13.74%. Since Kraton’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -2.81%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, Kraton pays more 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:KRA Last Perf August 17th 18

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 Kraton’s 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 Kraton currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a high 246.69%, meaning the below-average ratio is already being driven by a large amount of debt.

NYSE:KRA Historical Debt August 17th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Kraton’s ROE is underwhelming relative to the industry average, and its returns were also not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. Also, with debt capital in excess of equity, ROE may already be inflated by the use of debt funding, raising questions over the possibility of further decline in the company’s returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Kraton, I’ve compiled three relevant 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 Kraton 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 Kraton is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Kraton? 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.