What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base 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. In light of that, when we looked at Apex Medical (TPE:4106) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Apex Medical:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.058 = NT$132m ÷ (NT$3.2b - NT$921m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Therefore, Apex Medical has an ROCE of 5.8%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Medical Equipment industry average of 12%.
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 Apex Medical has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Can We Tell From Apex Medical's ROCE Trend?
On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Apex Medical doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 10% over the last five years. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.
In summary, Apex Medical is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. And investors appear hesitant that the trends will pick up because the stock has fallen 28% in the last five years. In any case, the stock doesn't have these traits of a multi-bagger discussed above, so if that's what you're looking for, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.
Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Apex Medical (of which 1 can't be ignored!) that you should know about.
While Apex Medical 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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