Sustainable Growth Rate or SGR

Growth is a significant success factor for any firm. The growth in revenue, profit, asset base or other things helps to measure the growth of the business. Both high and low growth affects business. The high growth impacts the resources of the business. On the other hand, slow growth shows less competitiveness and makes the survival of business difficult. As a result, to overcome such situations the business requires to know the sustainable growth rate.

The sustainable growth rate is also known as SGR. It calculates the maximum growth rate that a business could maintain without increasing the equity or debt. SGR is measured in terms of sales growth or growth in earnings and dividends in indefinite time.

It is also known as the growth break-even point. Generally, the break-even point is the minimum level of sales that a firm requires to cover its operating expenses. In this way, the company can report neither the profit nor the loss. Similarly, SGR is the ceiling or the maximum growth in sales, a business should reach without increasing its financial leverage.

Assumptions of Sustainable Growth Rate

The calculation of SGR is based on three assumptions:

No Change in the Capital Structure

The main assumption of the SGR is that the business grows only by investing the amount that it earns. That means the business does not change its capital structure. Business does not raise any additional equity or borrows external funds. The retained earnings are the only source of the capital, which earns the return by reinvestment.

No Change in the Dividend Payout Ratio

To calculate dividend payout ratio, divide dividends by total earnings or divide dividend per share by earnings per share. Hence, it is the percentage of earnings that is paid to the shareholder. After paying the dividend to the shareholders the amount that remains, is the amount that is reinvested in the business. Hence, the constant dividend payout ratio is important to calculate SGR.

Sales Need to Increase Faster  to  the Level Market Factors Allow

The main focus of the business is to increase revenue by utilizing the available internally accrued capital. The sales and assets growth is limited and cannot increase faster than the retained earnings.

Other Assumptions

For the calculation of the SGR, several other assumptions are considered

  1. The profit margins will no change.
  2. There will be no change in total assets to net sales.
  3. The depreciation on the assets will be adequate.

Sustainable Growth Rate

Calculation of Sustainable Growth Rate

Having an understanding of the assumptions of SGR, it becomes easier to understand how to calculate it. The business has the retained earnings only to fulfill the capital requirements. Therefore, the returns on retained earnings are the return on equity (ROE). Multiply this to the firm’s reinvestment rate to obtain the SGR.

ROE=return on equity
b= firm’s reinvestment rate

The step by step approach

Step 1: Compute the Asset turnover ratio
Asset Turnover Ratio= Net Sales/Total Assets
Step2: Compute the Net Profit Margin
Net Profit Margin= (Net Profit/Net Sales)*100
Step 3: Compute the Leverage Ratio
Leverage Ratio= (Total Debt/Total Equity)*100
Step 4: Compute ROE
ROE= Asset Turnover Ratio* Net Profit Margin*Leverage Ratio
ROE=(Net Income/Shareholder’s Equity)*100
Step 5: Compute Dividend Payout Ratio(DPR)
DPR=(Dividend/Net Profit)*100
Step 6: Compute Reinvestment Rate (b)
Step7: Compute SGR

Example of SGR Calculation

Calculate SGR for a business having the shareholder’s equity of $800, net income $230 and dividend payout ratio of 35%

ROE= $230/$800=28.75%

b= 1-35%=65%


How to Increase SGR

The SGR is the function of ROE and Reinvestment Rate. A business can increase the SGR by increasing any one of these two factors. The factors include:

Reducing the dividend payout ratio

Increasing the sales of the business

Increasing the profitability from sales

The SGR has the assumption that the sales of the business increases without any restrictions and the business has more than enough chance to grow. However, when the market demand is low, it does not matter how high the SGR, it cannot help the business to grow.


Hence, the sustainable growth rate is very important to find out the future prospect of the company. Analysts who analyze the business keeps a very close eye on this rate. To calculate this rate we use the two very important parameters. The first parameter is the return on equity shareholders of the company. The second parameter used is the reinvestment rate. Therefore, this rate when analyzed with the actual growth rate helps the business managers to make the decisions.

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".



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