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Sustainable Growth Rate

See Also:
Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
Internal Rate of Return Example
Impact of FIT on Sustainable Growth Rate

Sustainable Growth Rate Definition  

The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is a company’s maximum growth rate in sales using internal financial resources, while not having to increase debt or issue new equity.

Sustainable Growth Rate Explained

Companies who plan ahead and maintain sustainable growth rates will ultimately circumvent unprofitable growth. Thus by managing the growth rate, companies can avoid straining financial resources and overextending their financial leverage. Rapid growth and increased sales are dependent on financial resources. So, in order 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, then it should increase the profit margin, asset turnover ratio, assets to equity ratio, or retention rate. By using the return on equity and dividend payout ratio, the SGR then enables firms to forecast future equity and develop optimal growth rates.


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Calculate the sustainable growth rate using the following two equations.

Sustainable Growth Rate Formula 1

When you use the Return on Equity and dividend-payout ratio, you should use the following SGR formula:

SGR = (1-d) x ROE

d is the Dividend Payout Ratio (dividends divided by earnings). ROE is the Return on Equity (net income divided by shareholders’ equity).

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). Whereas, R is the Retention Rate (1 minus the dividend payout ratio). And A is the Asset Turnover Ratio (sales revenue divided by total assets).  Finally, 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? Reinvest $40 of the net income 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%. First, calculate SGR 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.

Sustainable Growth Rate

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Sustainable Growth Rate

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Dividend Payout Ratio

Dividend Payout Ratio Definition

What is dividend payout ratio? The dividend payout ratio measures the percentage of a company’s earnings paid to shareholders as dividends. When a company earns profit, it has the option of reinvesting that profit into the business to grow and expand the company or paying some of that profit out to shareholders as dividends.

We can define also payout ratio as the percent of earnings that a company pays out in dividends to shareholders. The opposite of the dividend payout ratio is the retention ratio. Retention ratio is the percentage of profit that is reinvested in the company instead of being paid out to shareholders in dividends.

Payout Ratio Interpretation

You can analyze a company’s payout ratio to determine various characteristics of the company and its operations.

For example, small fast-growing companies are likely to invest much of their earnings in the business for expansion and growth. These companies are likely to have a low payout ratio or none at all. A low payout ratio can also demonstrate that a company’s dividend is small compared to its earnings, indicating that the dividend is likely to be secure and reliable.

Whereas, large slow-growth companies, or companies like utility companies, are likely to pay out larger dividends to shareholders. These companies will have a higher payout ratio.

Dividend Payout Ratio Calculation

Use the following formula to calculate dividend payout ratio:

Payout Ratio = Dividends per Share
       Earnings per Share

Retention Rate Calculation

Use the following formula to calculate retention rate.

Retention Ratio = Net Income – Dividends
     Net Income

You can also use the following formula.

Retention Ratio = 1 – Payout Ratio

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dividend payout ratio

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dividend payout ratio

See Also:
Dividends
Dividend Yield
Financial Ratios

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