Vobile Group (HKG:3738) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

Simply Wall St
November 22, 2021
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What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at Vobile Group (HKG:3738) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

What is 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. The formula for this calculation on Vobile Group is:

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

0.0071 = HK$11m ÷ (HK$1.7b - HK$105m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, Vobile Group has an ROCE of 0.7%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Software industry average of 7.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Vobile Group

SEHK:3738 Return on Capital Employed November 22nd 2021

In the above chart we have measured Vobile Group's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Vobile Group here for free.

So How Is Vobile Group's ROCE Trending?

The trend of ROCE doesn't look fantastic because it's fallen from 42% five years ago, while the business's capital employed increased by 1,892%. However, some of the increase in capital employed could be attributed to the recent capital raising that's been completed prior to their latest reporting period, so keep that in mind when looking at the ROCE decrease. It's unlikely that all of the funds raised have been put to work yet, so as a consequence Vobile Group might not have received a full period of earnings contribution from it.

On a side note, Vobile Group has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 6.2% of total assets. Considering it used to be 58%, that's a huge drop in that ratio and it would explain the decline in ROCE. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

In Conclusion...

While returns have fallen for Vobile Group in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. And the stock has done incredibly well with a 756% return over the last three years, so long term investors are no doubt ecstatic with that result. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

One more thing, we've spotted 2 warning signs facing Vobile Group that you might find interesting.

While Vobile Group may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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