Stock Analysis

How Well Is Azion (GTSM:6148) Allocating Its Capital?

TPEX:6148
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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. This indicates to us that the business is not only shrinking the size of its net assets, but its returns are falling as well. Having said that, after a brief look, Azion (GTSM:6148) we aren't filled with optimism, but let's investigate further.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Azion:

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

0.067 = NT$47m ÷ (NT$1.1b - NT$422m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

So, Azion has an ROCE of 6.7%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the IT industry average of 15%.

See our latest analysis for Azion

roce
GTSM:6148 Return on Capital Employed January 19th 2021

Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Azion's ROCE against it's prior returns. If you'd like to look at how Azion has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Are Returns Trending?

The trend of returns that Azion is generating are raising some concerns. The company used to generate 8.7% on its capital five years ago but it has since fallen noticeably. In addition to that, Azion is now employing 52% less capital than it was five years ago. When you see both ROCE and capital employed diminishing, it can often be a sign of a mature and shrinking business that might be in structural decline. If these underlying trends continue, we wouldn't be too optimistic going forward.

On a related note, Azion has decreased its current liabilities to 38% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.

The Key Takeaway

In short, lower returns and decreasing amounts capital employed in the business doesn't fill us with confidence. Since the stock has skyrocketed 169% 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.

Azion does come with some risks though, we found 5 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 2 of those are significant...

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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