The Returns At STEF (EPA:STF) Aren't Growing

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 28, 2021
ENXTPA:STF
Source: Shutterstock

If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. 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. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. That's why when we briefly looked at STEF's (EPA:STF) ROCE trend, we were pretty happy with what we saw.

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 STEF, this is the formula:

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

0.12 = €165m ÷ (€2.6b - €1.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, STEF has an ROCE of 12%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Transportation industry average of 6.6% it's much better.

See our latest analysis for STEF

roce
ENXTPA:STF Return on Capital Employed November 29th 2021

In the above chart we have measured STEF's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for STEF.

So How Is STEF's ROCE Trending?

While the current returns on capital are decent, they haven't changed much. The company has employed 40% more capital in the last five years, and the returns on that capital have remained stable at 12%. Since 12% is a moderate ROCE though, it's good to see a business can continue to reinvest at these decent rates of return. Stable returns in this ballpark can be unexciting, but if they can be maintained over the long run, they often provide nice rewards to shareholders.

On a separate but related note, it's important to know that STEF has a current liabilities to total assets ratio of 49%, 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. While it's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial if this ratio is lower.

Our Take On STEF's ROCE

In the end, STEF has proven its ability to adequately reinvest capital at good rates of return. And the stock has followed suit returning a meaningful 55% to shareholders over the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we still believe the stock deserves further research.

If you want to continue researching STEF, you might be interested to know about the 2 warning signs that our analysis has discovered.

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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