Saputo (TSE:SAP) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 16, 2021
TSX:SAP
Source: Shutterstock

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Saputo (TSE:SAP) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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. To calculate this metric for Saputo, this is the formula:

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

0.071 = CA$780m ÷ (CA$13b - CA$2.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

So, Saputo has an ROCE of 7.1%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Food industry average of 7.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for Saputo

roce
TSX:SAP Return on Capital Employed December 16th 2021

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Saputo compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Saputo.

How Are Returns Trending?

In terms of Saputo's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 17% over the last five years. 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's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.

The Key Takeaway

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Saputo's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Since the stock has declined 35% over the last five years, investors may not be too optimistic on this trend improving either. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Saputo has the makings of a multi-bagger.

Saputo does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Saputo that you might be interested in.

While Saputo may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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