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. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, while the ROCE is currently high for ADLPartner (EPA:DKUPL), we aren't jumping out of our chairs because returns are decreasing.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?
If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for ADLPartner, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.24 = €18m ÷ (€147m - €75m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
So, ADLPartner has an ROCE of 24%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 13% earned by companies in a similar industry.
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 ADLPartner, check out these free graphs here.
How Are Returns Trending?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at ADLPartner, we didn't gain much confidence. While it's comforting that the ROCE is high, five years ago it was 31%. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
On a side note, ADLPartner has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 51% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money. Keep in mind 51% is still pretty high, so those risks are still somewhat prevalent.
The Bottom Line
Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for ADLPartner. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 116% to shareholders in the last five years. So should these growth trends continue, we'd be optimistic on the stock going forward.
ADLPartner does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for ADLPartner that you might be interested in.
High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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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.