LifeWorks (TSE:LWRK) Will Want To Turn Around Its Return Trends

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 21, 2022
TSX:LWRK
Source: Shutterstock

What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at LifeWorks (TSE:LWRK) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for LifeWorks:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.049 = CA$58m ÷ (CA$1.5b - CA$282m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

Thus, LifeWorks has an ROCE of 4.9%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Professional Services industry average of 11%.

See our latest analysis for LifeWorks

roce
TSX:LWRK Return on Capital Employed January 21st 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for LifeWorks compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering LifeWorks here for free.

So How Is LifeWorks' ROCE Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at LifeWorks, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 9.5%, but since then they've fallen to 4.9%. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

The Key Takeaway

In summary, LifeWorks is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Since the stock has gained an impressive 69% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.

Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for LifeWorks (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should know about.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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