Stock Analysis

Oxford Metrics (LON:OMG) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

AIM:OMG
Source: Shutterstock

If you're looking at a mature business that's past the growth phase, what are some of the underlying trends that pop up? Typically, we'll see the trend of both return on capital employed (ROCE) declining and this usually coincides with a decreasing amount of capital employed. This indicates the company is producing less profit from its investments and its total assets are decreasing. In light of that, from a first glance at Oxford Metrics (LON:OMG), we've spotted some signs that it could be struggling, so let's investigate.

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 Oxford Metrics is:

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

0.11 = UK£3.7m ÷ (UK£51m - UK£16m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

Thus, Oxford Metrics has an ROCE of 11%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 9.0% generated by the Software industry.

Check out the opportunities and risks within the GB Software industry.

roce
AIM:OMG Return on Capital Employed December 7th 2022

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

What Does the ROCE Trend For Oxford Metrics Tell Us?

There is reason to be cautious about Oxford Metrics, given the returns are trending downwards. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 17% that they were earning five years ago. Meanwhile, capital employed in the business has stayed roughly the flat over the period. Companies that exhibit these attributes tend to not be shrinking, but they can be mature and facing pressure on their margins from competition. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Oxford Metrics to turn into a multi-bagger.

In Conclusion...

In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. But investors must be expecting an improvement of sorts because over the last five yearsthe stock has delivered a respectable 85% return. Regardless, we don't feel too comfortable with the fundamentals so we'd be steering clear of this stock for now.

One final note, you should learn about the 5 warning signs we've spotted with Oxford Metrics (including 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) .

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

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Oxford Metrics is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.