What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount 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 Brd. Klee (CPH:KLEE B) 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. To calculate this metric for Brd. Klee, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.15 = kr.15m ÷ (kr.133m - kr.29m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
Thus, Brd. Klee has an ROCE of 15%. By itself that's a normal return on capital and it's in line with the industry's average returns of 15%.
While the past is not representative of the future, it can be helpful to know how a company has performed historically, which is why we have this chart above. If you want to delve into the historical earnings, revenue and cash flow of Brd. Klee, check out these free graphs here.
How Are Returns Trending?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Brd. Klee, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 18% over the last five years. 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'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 Brd. Klee's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Although the market must be expecting these trends to improve because the stock has gained 60% over the last five years. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.
Brd. Klee does come with some risks though, we found 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is a bit unpleasant...
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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