There Are Reasons To Feel Uneasy About China Beststudy Education Group's (HKG:3978) Returns On Capital

February 15, 2022
  •  Updated
July 20, 2022
Source: Shutterstock

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. One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Although, when we looked at China Beststudy Education Group (HKG:3978), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

Understanding 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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for China Beststudy Education Group:

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

0.083 = CN¥137m ÷ (CN¥3.3b - CN¥1.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

So, China Beststudy Education Group has an ROCE of 8.3%. On its own that's a low return on capital but it's in line with the industry's average returns of 8.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for China Beststudy Education Group

SEHK:3978 Return on Capital Employed February 15th 2022

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 China Beststudy Education Group, check out these free graphs here.

How Are Returns Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at China Beststudy Education Group, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 8.3% from 21% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

Another thing to note, China Beststudy Education Group has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 50%. 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. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.

What We Can Learn From China Beststudy Education Group's ROCE

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that China Beststudy Education Group is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. Despite these promising trends, the stock has collapsed 90% over the last three years, so there could be other factors hurting the company's prospects. Regardless, reinvestment can pay off in the long run, so we think astute investors may want to look further into this stock.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing China Beststudy Education Group, we've discovered 6 warning signs that you should be aware of.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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