# Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing Limited (HKG:2314): Assessing Capital Returns

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing Limited (HKG:2314).

Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing stock represents an ownership share in the company. This share represents a portion of capital used by the company to operate the business, and it is important the company is able to use the capital base efficiently to create adequate cash flows for you as an investor. Your return is tied to 2314’s ability to do this because the amount earned is used to invest in opportunities to grow the business or payout dividends, which are the two sources of return on investment. Therefore, looking at how efficiently Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing is able to use capital to create earnings will help us understand your potential return. Investors use many different metrics but the analysis below focuses on return on capital employed (ROCE). Let’s take a look at what it can tell us.

### Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing’s Return On Capital Employed

As an investor you have many alternative companies to choose from, which means there is an opportunity cost in any investment you make in the form of a foregone investment in another company. Therefore all else aside, your investment in a certain company represents a vote of confidence that the money used to buy the stock will grow larger than if invested elsewhere. So the business’ ability to grow the size of your capital is very important and can be assessed by comparing the return on capital you can get on your investment with a hurdle rate that depends on the other return possibilities you can identify. To determine Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). I have calculated Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for 2314

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = HK\$7.3b ÷ (HK\$47b – HK\$12b) = 19%

As you can see, 2314 earned HK\$19.1 from every HK\$100 you invested over the previous twelve months. Comparing this to a healthy 15% benchmark shows Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing is currently able to return a robust amount to owners for the use of their capital, which is a good sign for those who believe this will continue and the company’s management will find good uses for the earnings they create.

### Not so fast

2314 is efficient with the use of capital, but this is only the case if 2314 continues to maintain the presently healthy ROCE, which will change if the company either earns less or requires more capital to create earnings. Because of this, it is important to look beyond the final value of 2314’s ROCE and understand what is happening to the individual components. Looking at the past 3 year period shows us that 2314 boosted investor return on capital employed from 9.2%. Over the same period, EBT went from HK\$2.2b to HK\$7.3b and the amount of capital employed also grew but by a proportionally lesser volume, which suggests the larger ROCE is due to a growth in earnings relative to capital requirements.

### Next Steps

Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing’s ROCE has increased in the recent past and is currently at a level that makes the company an attractive candidate that is capable of producing solid capital returns, and hence, an attractive return on investment. As an investor this is the type of situation you look for, but return on capital employed is a static metric that should be looked at in conjunction with other fundamental indicators like future prospects and valuation. Without considering these fundamentals, you cannot be sure if this trend will continue or if you are getting a good deal for the future returns you are paying for. Lee and Man Paper Manufacturing’s fundamentals can be explored with the links I’ve provided below if you are interested, otherwise you can start looking at other high-performing stocks.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for 2314’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for 2314’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is 2314 worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even if its ROCE is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether 2314 is currently mispriced by the market.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.