Brunel International (AMS:BRNL) Could Be At Risk Of Shrinking As A Company

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 25, 2022
ENXTAM:BRNL
Source: Shutterstock

What financial metrics can indicate to us that a company is maturing or even in decline? When we see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) in conjunction with a declining base of capital employed, that's often how a mature business shows signs of aging. Trends like this ultimately mean the business is reducing its investments and also earning less on what it has invested. So after we looked into Brunel International (AMS:BRNL), the trends above didn't look too great.

What is 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. To calculate this metric for Brunel International, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.11 = €32m ÷ (€422m - €120m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, Brunel International has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty standard return but compared to the Professional Services industry average it falls behind.

View our latest analysis for Brunel International

roce
ENXTAM:BRNL Return on Capital Employed January 25th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Brunel International compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Are Returns Trending?

In terms of Brunel International's historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. About five years ago, returns on capital were 17%, however they're now substantially lower than that as we saw above. Meanwhile, capital employed in the business has stayed roughly the flat over the period. 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 Brunel International 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 31% over the last five years, so it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. 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 1 warning sign for Brunel International you'll probably want to know about.

While Brunel International 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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