Stock Analysis

Returns On Capital Signal Tricky Times Ahead For BCE (TSE:BCE)

  •  Updated
TSX:BCE
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What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. In light of that, when we looked at BCE (TSE:BCE) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. To calculate this metric for BCE, this is the formula:

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

0.094 = CA$5.5b ÷ (CA$68b - CA$9.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

Thus, BCE has an ROCE of 9.4%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Telecom industry average of 8.5%.

Check out our latest analysis for BCE

roce
TSX:BCE Return on Capital Employed August 9th 2022

In the above chart we have measured BCE's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

In terms of BCE's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 9.4% from 12% five years ago. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

Our Take On BCE's ROCE

In summary, BCE 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 41% 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.

One final note, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with BCE (including 1 which can't be ignored) .

While BCE isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether BCE is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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About TSX:BCE

BCE

BCE Inc., a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation2
Future Growth3
Past Performance3
Financial Health2
Dividends3

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Acceptable track record with moderate growth potential.