If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think IVS Group (BIT:IVS) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.
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 IVS Group:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.029 = €24m ÷ (€987m - €169m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Therefore, IVS Group has an ROCE of 2.9%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Online Retail industry average of 13%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for IVS Group compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering IVS Group here for free.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
When we looked at the ROCE trend at IVS Group, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 2.9% from 6.4% five years ago. 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.
The Bottom Line On IVS Group's ROCE
In summary, we're somewhat concerned by IVS Group's diminishing returns on increasing amounts of capital. Investors haven't taken kindly to these developments, since the stock has declined 31% from where it was five years ago. With underlying trends that aren't great in these areas, we'd consider looking elsewhere.
On a final note, we found 3 warning signs for IVS Group (1 can't be ignored) you should be aware of.
If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.
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