- United Kingdom
Sage Group (LON:SGE) Is Finding It Tricky To Allocate Its Capital
What financial metrics can indicate to us that a company is maturing or even in decline? 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 combination can tell you that not only is the company investing less, it's earning less on what it does invest. In light of that, from a first glance at Sage Group (LON:SGE), we've spotted some signs that it could be struggling, so let's investigate.
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. The formula for this calculation on Sage Group is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.15 = UK£386m ÷ (UK£3.9b - UK£1.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
Thus, Sage Group has an ROCE of 15%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 9.4% generated by the Software industry.
View our latest analysis for Sage Group
In the above chart we have measured Sage Group's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
How Are Returns Trending?
We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Sage Group. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 20% 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. Companies that exhibit these attributes tend to not be shrinking, but they can be mature and facing pressure on their margins from competition. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Sage Group becoming one if things continue as they have.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, it's unfortunate that Sage Group is generating lower returns from the same amount of capital. Investors must expect better things on the horizon though because the stock has risen 30% in the last five years. Either way, we aren't huge fans of the current trends and so with that we think you might find better investments elsewhere.
If you'd like to know about the risks facing Sage Group, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should be aware of.
While Sage Group 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 Sage Group 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.
The Sage Group plc, together with its subsidiaries, provides technology solutions and services for small and medium businesses in North America, Northern Europe, and internationally.
Reasonable growth potential average dividend payer.