Ignoring the stock price of a company, what are the underlying trends that tell us a business is past the growth phase? More often than not, we'll see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining amount of capital employed. Ultimately this means that the company is earning less per dollar invested and on top of that, it's shrinking its base of capital employed. And from a first read, things don't look too good at Esthetics International Group Berhad (KLSE:EIG), so let's see why.
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 Esthetics International Group Berhad is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.0083 = RM1.7m ÷ (RM266m - RM64m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
Thus, Esthetics International Group Berhad has an ROCE of 0.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Consumer Services industry average of 7.5%.
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'd like to look at how Esthetics International Group Berhad has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
The Trend Of ROCE
There is reason to be cautious about Esthetics International Group Berhad, given the returns are trending downwards. About five years ago, returns on capital were 10%, 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. Since returns are falling and the business has the same amount of assets employed, this can suggest it's a mature business that hasn't had much growth in the last five years. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Esthetics International Group Berhad becoming one if things continue as they have.
The Bottom Line
In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. It should come as no surprise then that the stock has fallen 43% over the last five years, so it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.
If you want to know some of the risks facing Esthetics International Group Berhad we've found 4 warning signs (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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