Card Factory (LON:CARD) Has Some Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 04, 2021
LSE:CARD
Source: Shutterstock

Ignoring the stock price of a company, what are the underlying trends that tell us a business is past the growth phase? A business that's potentially in decline often shows two trends, a return on capital employed (ROCE) that's declining, and a base of capital employed that's also declining. This indicates to us that the business is not only shrinking the size of its net assets, but its returns are falling as well. And from a first read, things don't look too good at Card Factory (LON:CARD), so let's see why.

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. The formula for this calculation on Card Factory is:

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

0.033 = UK£14m ÷ (UK£533m - UK£112m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

Therefore, Card Factory has an ROCE of 3.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 13%.

View our latest analysis for Card Factory

roce
LSE:CARD Return on Capital Employed October 5th 2021

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

What Can We Tell From Card Factory's ROCE Trend?

We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Card Factory. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 21% that they were earning five years ago. On top of that, it's worth noting that the amount of capital employed within the business has remained relatively steady. Since returns are falling and the business has the same amount of assets employed, this can suggest it's a mature business that hasn't had much growth in the last five years. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Card Factory becoming one if things continue as they have.

Our Take On Card Factory's ROCE

In summary, it's unfortunate that Card Factory is generating lower returns from the same amount of capital. This could explain why the stock has sunk a total of 76% in the last five years. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.

If you want to know some of the risks facing Card Factory we've found 2 warning signs (1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

While Card Factory isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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