What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Nanjing Sample Technology (HKG:1708) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. The formula for this calculation on Nanjing Sample Technology is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.041 = CN¥93m ÷ (CN¥4.5b - CN¥2.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).
Therefore, Nanjing Sample Technology has an ROCE of 4.1%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Electronic industry average of 8.4%.
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 Nanjing Sample Technology, check out these free graphs here.
The Trend Of ROCE
In terms of Nanjing Sample Technology's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 11% over the last five years. And considering revenue has dropped while employing more capital, we'd be cautious. This could mean that the business is losing its competitive advantage or market share, because while more money is being put into ventures, it's actually producing a lower return - "less bang for their buck" per se.Another thing to note, Nanjing Sample Technology has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 49%. 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. While it's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial if this ratio is lower.
We're a bit apprehensive about Nanjing Sample Technology because despite more capital being deployed in the business, returns on that capital and sales have both fallen. Long term shareholders who've owned the stock over the last five years have experienced a 67% depreciation in their investment, so it appears the market might not like these trends either. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.
Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Nanjing Sample Technology (of which 2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should know about.
While Nanjing Sample Technology 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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