Returns On Capital At AAK AB (publ.) (STO:AAK) Have Stalled

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 27, 2021
OM:AAK
Source: Shutterstock

There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing 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. That's why when we briefly looked at AAK AB (publ.)'s (STO:AAK) ROCE trend, we were pretty happy with what we saw.

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. To calculate this metric for AAK AB (publ.), this is the formula:

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

0.14 = kr2.1b ÷ (kr25b - kr11b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

Thus, AAK AB (publ.) has an ROCE of 14%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Food industry average of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for AAK AB (publ.)

roce
OM:AAK Return on Capital Employed November 28th 2021

In the above chart we have measured AAK AB (publ.)'s prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering AAK AB (publ.) here for free.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

While the current returns on capital are decent, they haven't changed much. Over the past five years, ROCE has remained relatively flat at around 14% and the business has deployed 26% more capital into its operations. 14% is a pretty standard return, and it provides some comfort knowing that AAK AB (publ.) has consistently earned this amount. Stable returns in this ballpark can be unexciting, but if they can be maintained over the long run, they often provide nice rewards to shareholders.

On another note, while the change in ROCE trend might not scream for attention, it's interesting that the current liabilities have actually gone up over the last five years. This is intriguing because if current liabilities hadn't increased to 43% of total assets, this reported ROCE would probably be less than14% because total capital employed would be higher.The 14% ROCE could be even lower if current liabilities weren't 43% of total assets, because the the formula would show a larger base of total capital employed. Additionally, this high level of current liabilities isn't ideal because it means the company's suppliers (or short-term creditors) are effectively funding a large portion of the business.

Our Take On AAK AB (publ.)'s ROCE

In the end, AAK AB (publ.) has proven its ability to adequately reinvest capital at good rates of return. On top of that, the stock has rewarded shareholders with a remarkable 110% return to those who've held over the last five years. So even though the stock might be more "expensive" than it was before, we think the strong fundamentals warrant this stock for further research.

While AAK AB (publ.) doesn't shine too bright in this respect, it's still worth seeing if the company is trading at attractive prices. You can find that out with our FREE intrinsic value estimation on our platform.

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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