Sustainable Growth Rate Definition
The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is a company’s maximum growth rate in sales using internal financial resources and without having to increase debt or issue new equity.
Sustainable Growth Rate Explained
Companies who plan ahead and maintain sustainable growth rates will circumvent unprofitable growth. Managing the growth rate is critical so that companies can avoid straining financial resources and overextending their financial leverage. Rapid growth and increased sales are dependent on financial resources. To improve sales in sustainable growth, a firm will need new assets, which can be financed through an increase in owners’ equity (retained earnings).
If a company plans to increase the SGR without issuing new equity or borrowing additional financial resources, it should increase the profit margin, asset turnover ratio, assets to equity ratio, or retention rate. Using the return on equity and dividend payout ratio, the SGR enables firms to forecast future equity and develop optimal growth rates.
Sustainable Growth Rate Formula 1
The sustainable growth rate can be calculated using two equations. Using the Return on Equity and dividend-payout ratio, below is the SGR formula:
SGR = (1-d) x ROE
Sustainable Growth Rate Formula 2
The second equation to calculate the sustainable growth rate is to multiply the four variables for profit margin, asset turnover ratio, assets to equity ratio, and retention rate:
SGR = PRAT
P is the Profit Margin (net profit divided by revenue). R is the Retention Rate (1 minus the dividend payout ratio). A is the Asset Turnover Ratio (sales revenue divided by total assets). T is the Assets-to-Equity Ratio (total assets divided by shareholders’ equity).
Sustainable Growth Rate Example
What is the sustainable growth rate for a company with Shareholder’s Equity of $400 and net income of $100? $40 of the net income will be reinvested as dividends.
ROE = net income divided by shareholders’ equity = 100/400 = 25% or .25
Dividend-payout-ratio = dividends divided by net income = 40/100 = 40% or .40
SGR = (1-d) x ROE = (1-.4) x .25 = 15% or .15
From this example, the SGR works out to be 15%. The SGR is calculated by multiplying one minus the dividend-payout-ratio by the return on equity. A SGR of 15% indicates that the company can increase future earnings and sales up to 15% annually without having to borrow more funds or issue new equity. Learn other ways to increase the value (and cash flow) of your company by downloading the free 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.
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