# Understanding Profitability Ratios and DuPont Analysis | CFA Level I FSA

Welcome back! In this lesson, we’re going to explore profitability ratios and the DuPont analysis in greater detail. Let’s dive in and make sure you’re well-prepared for your exam.

## Profitability Ratios: The Basics

Profitability ratios measure a firm’s overall performance relative to its revenues, assets, equity, and capital. These ratios are essential for determining a firm’s value and understanding its financial health. Here are some key profitability ratios you need to know:

• Gross profit margin: Indicates the percentage of revenue available to cover expenses and generate profit after deducting product costs.
• Operating profit margin: Measures profitability after accounting for operating costs, like wages and rent.
• Pretax margin: Evaluates a firm’s profitability before accounting for income taxes, providing insight into management’s performance in driving profitability.
• Net profit margin: Includes both recurring and non-recurring components, giving a more comprehensive view of a company’s potential future profitability.
• Return on assets (ROA): Measures the return earned by a firm on its assets, often calculated as net income divided by average total assets.
• Return on equity (ROE): Measures the return earned by a company on its equity capital, including minority equity, preferred equity, and common equity.
• Return on common equity: Measures the return earned by a company only on its common equity, excluding preferred shareholder dividends from the numerator.
• Return on total capital: Measures the profits a company earns on all capital it employs, including short-term debt, long-term debt, and all equity.

## DuPont Analysis: Breaking Down ROE

DuPont analysis is a technique for decomposing ROE to understand its drivers. It expresses ROE as a product of ROA and financial leverage. In other words, a company can improve its ROE by enhancing its ROA or making more effective use of leverage.

ROA can be further decomposed into the net profit margin and total asset turnover. This demonstrates that a company’s ROE is a function of its net profit margin (profitability), efficiency (how much revenue it generates per dollar of assets), and leverage (how much debt it uses to finance its assets).

The five-way decomposition of ROE, as seen in financial databases like Bloomberg, includes the tax burden, interest burden, Ebit margin, efficiency, and leverage. This provides a more detailed understanding of the factors affecting a company’s ROE.

### EXAMPLE

Sanix Corp’s ROE fell sharply from 32.5% in 2014 to 13.2% in 2015. Use the 5-part DuPont analysis to explain the critical factors that account for the decline in ROE.

After calculating the five ratios for both years, we notice that the Ebit margin and leverage ratios have significantly declined. The drop in Ebit margin suggests that profits from operations have eroded, which is confirmed by examining the income statement – sales have declined, and costs have increased over the year.

The decline in financial leverage suggests that the company’s capital structure has shifted towards having less debt. While this lowers the risk to the company, it also indicates that the leverage effect is reduced. Moving forward, shareholders may have to accept a lower rate of return.

## Key Takeaways

Understanding profitability ratios and the DuPont analysis is crucial for assessing a firm’s financial health and performance. Remember these key points:

• Profitability ratios measure a firm’s overall performance relative to its revenues, assets, equity, and capital.
• DuPont analysis helps decompose ROE into its key drivers, allowing for a more detailed understanding of the factors affecting a company’s profitability.
• ROE is a function of a company’s net profit margin, efficiency, and leverage.
• When analyzing a company’s financial performance, it’s essential to examine trends in profitability ratios and consider the underlying factors influencing those trends.

With these insights, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle profitability ratios and DuPont analysis in your CFA Level I FSA exam. Good luck, and happy studying!

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