# Natural Health Trends Corp (NASDAQ:NHTC)’s Return on Capital

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in Natural Health Trends Corp (NASDAQ:NHTC).

Purchasing Natural Health Trends gives you an ownership stake in the company. This share represents a portion of capital used by the company to operate the business, and it is important the company is able to use the capital base efficiently to create adequate cash flows for you as an investor. You need to pay attention to this because your return on investment is linked to dividends and internal investments to improve the business, which can only occur if the company is expected to produce adequate earnings with the capital that has been provided. Therefore, looking at how efficiently Natural Health Trends is able to use capital to create earnings will help us understand your potential return. Investors use many different metrics but the analysis below focuses on return on capital employed (ROCE). Let’s take a look at what it can tell us.

### What is Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)?

When you choose to invest in a company, there is an opportunity cost because that money could’ve been invested elsewhere. The cost of missing out on another opportunity comes in the form of the potential long term gain you could’ve received, which is dependent on the gap between the return on capital you could’ve achieved and that of the company you invested in. Hence, capital returns are very important, and should be examined before you invest in conjunction with a certain benchmark that represents the minimum return you require to be compensated for the risk of missing out on other potentially lucrative investments. To determine Natural Health Trends’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). Take a look at the formula box beneath:

ROCE Calculation for NHTC

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US\$37m ÷ (US\$156m – US\$44m) = 33%

As you can see, NHTC earned \$32.6 from every \$100 you invested over the previous twelve months. Comparing this to a healthy 15% benchmark shows Natural Health Trends is currently able to return a fantastic amount to owners for the use of their capital, which is a good sign for those who believe this will continue and the company’s management will find good uses for the earnings they create.

### Before moving forward

NHTC is efficient with the use of capital, but this is only the case if NHTC continues to maintain the presently healthy ROCE, which will change if the company either earns less or requires more capital to create earnings. Therefore, investors need to be confident in the trend of the inputs in the formula above, so that Natural Health Trends will continue the solid returns. Looking three years in the past, it is evident that NHTC’s ROCE has deteriorated from 80%, indicating the company’s capital returns have declined. We can see that earnings have actually increased from US\$21m to US\$37m but capital employed has increased by a relatively larger volume due to a rise in total assets , which means that although earnings have increased, NHTC requires more capital to produce each \$1 of earnings.

### Next Steps

Despite NHTC’s downward trend in ROCE in the recent past, the company still remains an attractive candidate that is capable of producing solid capital returns and a potentially strong return on investment. Before making any decisions, ROCE does not tell the whole picture so you need to pay attention to other fundamentals like future prospects and valuation. Without considering these fundamentals, you cannot be sure if the downward path is a signal to run, or just a blip in an otherwise solid return profile. If you’re interested in diving deeper, take a look at what I’ve linked below for further information on these fundamentals and other potential investment opportunities.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for NHTC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for NHTC’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is NHTC worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even if its ROCE is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether NHTC is currently mispriced by the market.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.