Here's What's Concerning About Sodexo's (EPA:SW) Returns On Capital

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 12, 2022
ENXTPA:SW
Source: Shutterstock

Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? 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. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Sodexo (EPA:SW) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

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

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Sodexo:

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

0.053 = €537m ÷ (€19b - €8.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2021).

So, Sodexo has an ROCE of 5.3%. On its own that's a low return on capital but it's in line with the industry's average returns of 5.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Sodexo

roce
ENXTPA:SW Return on Capital Employed January 12th 2022

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

What Does the ROCE Trend For Sodexo Tell Us?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Sodexo doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 15% 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 may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

On a separate but related note, it's important to know that Sodexo has a current liabilities to total assets ratio of 47%, which we'd consider pretty high. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.

The Key Takeaway

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Sodexo's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. And investors appear hesitant that the trends will pick up because the stock has fallen 11% in the last five years. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Sodexo has the makings of a multi-bagger.

Sodexo does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think 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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