When researching a stock for investment, what can tell us that the company is in decline? A business that's potentially in decline often shows two trends, a return on capital employed (ROCE) that's declining, and a base of capital employed that's also declining. This combination can tell you that not only is the company investing less, it's earning less on what it does invest. So after glancing at the trends within Toshin GroupLtd (TYO:2761), we weren't too hopeful.
Understanding 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 Toshin GroupLtd is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.036 = JP¥1.4b ÷ (JP¥43b - JP¥4.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2020).
Thus, Toshin GroupLtd has an ROCE of 3.6%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Trade Distributors industry average of 6.3%.
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 Toshin GroupLtd, check out these free graphs here.
How Are Returns Trending?
We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Toshin GroupLtd. About five years ago, returns on capital were 6.6%, however they're now substantially lower than that as we saw above. And on the capital employed front, the business is utilizing roughly the same amount of capital as it was back then. This combination can be indicative of a mature business that still has areas to deploy capital, but the returns received aren't as high due potentially to new competition or smaller margins. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Toshin GroupLtd to turn into a multi-bagger.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, it's unfortunate that Toshin GroupLtd is generating lower returns from the same amount of capital. Since the stock has skyrocketed 203% over the last five years, it looks like investors have high expectations of the stock. In any case, the current underlying trends don't bode well for long term performance so unless they reverse, we'd start looking elsewhere.
If you're still interested in Toshin GroupLtd it's worth checking out our FREE intrinsic value approximation to see if it's trading at an attractive price in other respects.
While Toshin GroupLtd isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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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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