If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Having said that, while the ROCE is currently high for Activation Group Holdings (HKG:9919), we aren't jumping out of our chairs because returns are decreasing.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Activation Group Holdings:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.25 = CN¥107m ÷ (CN¥657m - CN¥235m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).
So, Activation Group Holdings has an ROCE of 25%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Media industry average of 5.9%.
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Activation Group Holdings' ROCE against it's prior returns. If you'd like to look at how Activation Group Holdings has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
The Trend Of ROCE
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Activation Group Holdings, we didn't gain much confidence. Historically returns on capital were even higher at 32%, but they have dropped over the last four years. 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.
On a side note, Activation Group Holdings has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 36% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.
What We Can Learn From Activation Group Holdings' ROCE
Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Activation Group Holdings. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 130% to shareholders in the last year. So while the underlying trends could already be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.
On a final note, we've found 1 warning sign for Activation Group Holdings that we think you should be aware of.
Activation Group Holdings is not the only stock earning high returns. If you'd like to see more, check out our free list of companies earning high returns on equity with solid fundamentals.
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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.
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