Investors Met With Slowing Returns on Capital At Endesa (BME:ELE)

Published
April 25, 2022
BME:ELE
Source: Shutterstock

If you're not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should keep an eye out for. In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. 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 Endesa (BME:ELE) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

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

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for Endesa, this is the formula:

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

0.098 = €2.4b ÷ (€40b - €16b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

So, Endesa has an ROCE of 9.8%. On its own that's a low return, but compared to the average of 7.5% generated by the Electric Utilities industry, it's much better.

See our latest analysis for Endesa

roce
BME:ELE Return on Capital Employed April 25th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Endesa 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 Endesa here for free.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Endesa Tell Us?

Over the past five years, Endesa's ROCE and capital employed have both remained mostly flat. It's not uncommon to see this when looking at a mature and stable business that isn't re-investing its earnings because it has likely passed that phase of the business cycle. With that in mind, unless investment picks up again in the future, we wouldn't expect Endesa to be a multi-bagger going forward. That probably explains why Endesa has been paying out 70% of its earnings as dividends to shareholders. If the company is in fact lacking growth opportunities, that's one of the viable alternatives for the money.

Another point to note, we noticed the company has increased current liabilities over the last five years. This is intriguing because if current liabilities hadn't increased to 40% of total assets, this reported ROCE would probably be less than9.8% because total capital employed would be higher.The 9.8% ROCE could be even lower if current liabilities weren't 40% of total assets, because the the formula would show a larger base of total capital employed. So while current liabilities isn't high right now, keep an eye out in case it increases further, because this can introduce some elements of risk.

The Bottom Line On Endesa's ROCE

In a nutshell, Endesa has been trudging along with the same returns from the same amount of capital over the last five years. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 22% to shareholders over the last five years. So if you're looking for a multi-bagger, the underlying trends indicate you may have better chances elsewhere.

Endesa does come with some risks though, we found 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is concerning...

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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