What is Behind Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Superior ROE?

what is behind apple incs nasdaqaapl superior roe

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) delivered an ROE of 42.02% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 10.35% during the same period. Superficially, this looks great since we know that AAPL has generated big profits with little equity capital; however, ROE doesn’t tell us how much AAPL has borrowed in debt. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some factors like financial leverage to see how sustainable AAPL’s ROE is. See our latest analysis for Apple

What you must know about ROE

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.42 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 measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Apple’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 10.61%. Since Apple’s return covers its cost in excess of 31.41%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Apple pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. 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:AAPL Last Perf Jun 8th 18NasdaqGS:AAPL Last Perf Jun 8th 18
NasdaqGS:AAPL Last Perf Jun 8th 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Apple 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 financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Apple currently has. At 96.03%, Apple’s debt-to-equity ratio appears balanced and indicates the above-average ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.

NasdaqGS:AAPL Historical Debt Jun 8th 18NasdaqGS:AAPL Historical Debt Jun 8th 18
NasdaqGS:AAPL Historical Debt Jun 8th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Apple’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average and also covers 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 Apple, I’ve compiled three essential 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 Apple 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 Apple is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Apple? 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.

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