LifeVantage (NASDAQ:LFVN) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 29, 2022
NasdaqCM:LFVN
Source: Shutterstock

Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So when we looked at LifeVantage (NASDAQ:LFVN), they do have a high ROCE, but we weren't exactly elated from how returns are trending.

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for LifeVantage:

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

0.24 = US$12m ÷ (US$72m - US$22m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

So, LifeVantage has an ROCE of 24%. On its own, that's a very good return and it's on par with the returns earned by companies in a similar industry.

Check out our latest analysis for LifeVantage

roce
NasdaqCM:LFVN Return on Capital Employed April 29th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for LifeVantage compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for LifeVantage.

What Can We Tell From LifeVantage's ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at LifeVantage doesn't inspire confidence. While it's comforting that the ROCE is high, five years ago it was 45%. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. 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.

On a side note, LifeVantage has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 31% 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. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

What We Can Learn From LifeVantage's ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by LifeVantage's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. And investors appear hesitant that the trends will pick up because the stock has fallen 15% in the last five years. All in all, the inherent trends aren't typical of multi-baggers, so if that's what you're after, we think you might have more luck elsewhere.

On a separate note, we've found 2 warning signs for LifeVantage you'll probably want to know about.

LifeVantage is not the only stock earning high returns. If you'd like to see more, check out our free list of companies earning high returns on equity with solid fundamentals.

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