Stock Analysis

VSE's (NASDAQ:VSEC) Returns On Capital Not Reflecting Well On The Business

  •  Updated
NasdaqGS:VSEC
Source: Shutterstock

If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at VSE (NASDAQ:VSEC) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for VSE:

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

0.066 = US$51m ÷ (US$947m - US$177m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

Thus, VSE has an ROCE of 6.6%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Commercial Services industry average of 9.1%.

View our latest analysis for VSE

roce
NasdaqGS:VSEC Return on Capital Employed September 24th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for VSE compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering VSE here for free.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

When we looked at the ROCE trend at VSE, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 11%, but since then they've fallen to 6.6%. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

What We Can Learn From VSE's ROCE

While returns have fallen for VSE in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. These growth trends haven't led to growth returns though, since the stock has fallen 37% over the last five years. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.

On a final note, we've found 1 warning sign for VSE that we think you should be aware of.

While VSE isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether VSE is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis