Financial Ratios Used In BSG-Online
(as reported on pages 2 and 5 of the Footwear
•Earnings per share (EPS) is defined as net income divided by the number of shares of stock issued to stockholders. Higher EPS values indicate the company is earning more net income per share of stock outstanding. Because EPS is one of the five performance measures on which your company is graded (see p. 2 of the FIR) and because your company has a higher EPS target each year, you should monitor EPS regularly and take actions to boost EPS. One way to boost EPS is to pursue actions that will raise net income (the numerator in the formula for calculating EPS). A second means of boosting EPS is to repurchase shares of stock, which has the effect of reducing the number of shares in the possession of shareholders—net income divided by a smaller number of shares yields a bigger EPS.
•Return on average equity (ROE) ROE is defined as net income divided by the average amount of shareholders’ equity investment—the average amount of shareholders’ equity investment is equal to the sum of shareholder equity at the beginning of the year and the end of the year divided by 2. Total shareholder equity at the end of the year turns out to be larger than total shareholder equity at the beginning of the year whenever the company’s dividend payments are less than its net profits (such that some earnings are retained in the business—all retained earnings add to the amount of shareholders’ equity). Higher ROE values indicate the company is earning more after-tax profit per dollar of equity capital provided by shareholders. Because ROE is one of the five performance measures on which your company is graded (see p. 2 of the FIR), and because your company’s annual target ROE is 15%, you should monitor ROE regularly and take actions to boost ROE. One way to boost ROE is to pursue actions that will raise net income (the numerator in the formula for calculating ROE). A second means of boosting ROE is to repurchase shares of stock, which has the effect of reducing shareholders’ equity investment in the company (the denominator in the ROE calculation), thus producing a higher ROE percentage.
•Operating profit margin is defined as operating profit divided by net revenues (where net revenues represent the dollars received from footwear sales, after exchange rate adjustments). A higher operating profit margin (shown on p. 5 of the FIR) is a sign of competitive strength and cost competitiveness. The bigger the percentage of operating profit to net revenues, the bigger the margin for covering interest payments and taxes and moving dollars to the bottom-line. A company with a bolded number for the operating profit margin shown in the bottom section of page 5 of the FIR has the best operating profit margin of any company in the industry. Companies whose operating profit margin numbers are shaded have sub-par margins, thus signaling a need for management to work on improving profitability.
•Net profit margin is defined as net profit (or net income or after-tax income, all of which mean the same thing) divided by net revenues, where net revenues represent the dollars received from footwear sales after exchange rate adjustments. The bigger a company’s net profit margin (its ratio of net profit to net revenues), the better the company’s profitability in the sense that a bigger percentage of the dollars it collects from footwear sales flow to the bottom-line. A company’s net profit margin represents the percentage of revenues that end up on the bottom line. A company
with a bolded number for the net profit margin shown in the bottom section of page 5 of the FIR signifies the best net profit margin of any company in the industry. Companies with shaded numbers have sub-par net profit margins, thus signaling a need for management to work on improving profitability.
(as reported on the Comparative Financial
Performances page of the Footwear Industry Report)
The ratios relating to costs and profit as a percentage of net revenues that are at the bottom of page 5 of the FIR are of particular interest because they indicate which companies are most cost efficient and have the best profit margins:
•Cost of pairs sold as a percent of net revenues. This ratio is calculated by dividing total costs of goods sold by net sales revenues. A company’s cost of pairs sold includes all production-related costs, any exchange rate adjustments on pairs shipped to distribution warehouses, any tariff payments, and freight charges on pairs shipped from plants to distribution warehouses. Net sales revenues represent the dollars received from both branded and private-label footwear sales after exchange rate adjustments. Low percentages for the cost of pairs sold are generally preferable to higher percentages because they signal that a bigger percentage of the revenue received from footwear sales is available to cover delivery, marketing, administrative, and interest costs, with any remainder representing pre-tax profit. Companies having the highest ratios of production costs to net revenues are candidates for being caught in a profit squeeze, with margins over and above production-related costs that are too small to cover delivery, marketing, and administrative costs and interest costs and still have a comfortable margin for profit. Production costs at such companies are usually too high relative to the price they are charging (their strategic options for boosting profitability are to cut costs, raise prices, or try to make up for thin margins by somehow selling additional units).
•Warehouse expenses as a percent of net revenues. This ratio is calculated by dividing total warehouse expenses by net sales revenues. Net sales revenues represent the dollars received from both branded and private-label footwear sales after exchange rate adjustments. A low percentage of warehouse expenses to net revenues is preferable to a higher percentage, indicating that a smaller proportion of revenues is required to cover the costs of warehouse operations (which leaves more room for covering other costs and earning a bigger profit on each unit sold).
•Marketing expenses as a percent of net revenues. This ratio is calculated by dividing total marketing costs by net sales revenues. Net sales revenues represent the dollars received from both branded and private-label footwear sales after exchange rate adjustments. A low percentage of marketing expenses to net revenues relative to other companies signals good efficiency of marketing expenditures (more revenue bang for the buck), provided unit sales volumes are attractively high. However, a low percentage of marketing costs, if coupled with low unit sales volumes, generally signals that a company is spending too little on marketing. The optimal condition, therefore, is a low marketing cost percentage coupled with high sales, high revenues, and above-average market share (all sure signs that a company has a cost-effective marketing strategy and is getting a nice bang for the marketing dollars it is spending).
•Administrative expenses as a percent of net revenues. This ratio is calculated by dividing administrative costs by net sales revenues. Net sales revenues
represent the dollars received from both branded and private-label footwear sales after exchange rate adjustments. A low ratio of administrative costs to net sales revenues signals that a company is spreading administrative costs out over a bigger volume of sales. Companies with a high percentage of administrative costs to net revenues generally need to pursue additional sales or market share or risk squeezing profit margins and being at a cost disadvantage to bigger-volume rivals (although a higher administrative cost ratio can sometimes be offset with lower costs/ratios elsewhere).
Bolded numbers in any of the four cost/expense ratio columns at the bottom of page 5 of the FIR signify companies with industry-best ratios. Ratios that are shaded designate companies with sub-par ratios and generally indicate that management needs to work on improving that measure of cost competitiveness.
Credit Rating Ratios (as reported on the Comparative Financial
Performances page of the Footwear Industry Report)
Three financial measures are used to determine your company’s credit rating:
• The debt-to-assets ratio is defined as all loans outstanding divided by total assets —both numbers are shown on the company’s balance sheet. All loans outstanding include (a) 1-year loans outstanding, (b) long-term bank loans outstanding, (c) the current portion of long-term loans that are due and payable, and (d) any overdraft loans that are due and payable—all these amounts are reported on the company’s balance sheet, as is the amount of total assets (total assets is also reported on page 5 of the FIR). A debt-to-assets ratio of .20 to .35 is considered “good”. As a rule of thumb, it will take a debt-to-assets ratio close to 0.10 to achieve an A+ credit rating and a debt-asset ratio of about 0.25 to achieve an A– credit rating (unless the interest coverage ratios are in the 5 to 10 range and the default risk ratio is above 3.00). Debt-to-asset ratios above 0.50 (or 50%) are generally alarming to creditors and signal “too much” use of debt and creditor financing to operate the business, although such a debt level could still produce a B+ or A– credit rating if a company can maintain with very strong interest coverage ratios (say 8.0 or higher) and default risk ratios above 3.00.
• The interest coverage ratio is defined as annual operating profit divided by annual interest payments. Operating profit is reported on the Income Statement and on p. 5 of the FIR; interest payments are reported on the Income Statement. Your
company’s interest coverage ratio is used by credit analysts to measure the “safety margin” that creditors have in assuring that company profits from operations are sufficiently high to cover annual interest payments. An interest coverage ratio of 2.0 is considered “rock-bottom minimum” by credit analysts. A coverage ratio of 5.0 to 10.0 is considered much more satisfactory for companies in the footwear industry because of earnings volatility over each year, intense competitive pressures which can produce sudden downturns in a company’s profitability, and the relatively unproven management expertise at each company. It usually takes a double-digit times-interest-earned ratio to secure an A– or higher credit rating, since this credit measure is strongly weighted in the credit rating determination.
• The default risk ratio is defined as free cash flow divided by the combined annual principal payments on all outstanding loans. Free cash flow is equal to net profit plus depreciation minus dividend payments. This credit measure also carries a high weighting in the credit rating determination. A company with a default risk ratio below 1.0 is automatically assigned “high risk” status (because it is short of cash to meet its principal payments) and cannot be given a credit rating higher than C+. Companies with a default risk ratio between 1.0 and 3.0 are designated as “medium risk”, and companies with a default ratio of 3.0 and higher are classified as “low risk” because their free cash flows are 3 or more times the size of their annual principal payments).
The interest coverage ratio and the default risk ratio are the two most important measures in determining a company’s credit rating. Thus, as long as a company is financially strong in its ability to service its debt—as measured by the interest coverage ratio and the default risk ratio, then the company can maintain a higher debt-to-assets ratio without greatly impairing its credit rating. However, weakness on just one of the three measures, particularly the two most important ones, can be sufficient to knock a company’s credit rating down a notch. Weakness on two or three can reduce the rating by several notches.
If any of the credit rating measures for your company have a shaded or
highlighted background, then you and you co-managers need to take calculated action to get those ratios up as rapidly as possible.
Bolded numbers on the credit rating measures indicate credit rating strength relative to rival companies.