Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, from a first glance at GVS (BIT:GVS) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on GVS is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.12 = €68m ÷ (€591m - €29m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
Thus, GVS has an ROCE of 12%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 8.5% generated by the Machinery industry.
In the above chart we have measured GVS' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for GVS.
What Can We Tell From GVS' ROCE Trend?
In terms of GVS' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 12% from 19% five years ago. Given the business is employing more capital while revenue has slipped, this is a bit concerning. 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.
On a side note, GVS has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 4.9% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.
What We Can Learn From GVS' ROCE
In summary, we're somewhat concerned by GVS' diminishing returns on increasing amounts of capital. Investors haven't taken kindly to these developments, since the stock has declined 44% from where it was year ago. That being the case, unless the underlying trends revert to a more positive trajectory, we'd consider looking elsewhere.
On a separate note, we've found 3 warning signs for GVS you'll probably want to know about.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.
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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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