Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN): What Are Investors Earning On Their Capital?

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to begin learning the link between Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

Buying Eastman Chemical makes you a partial owner of the company. Owing to this, it is important that the underlying business is producing a sufficient amount of income from the capital invested by stockholders. 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 Eastman Chemical 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.

Eastman Chemical’s Return On Capital Employed

You only have a finite amount of capital to invest, so there are only so many companies that you can add to your portfolio. Accordingly, before you invest you need to assess the capital returns that the company has produced with reference to a certain benchmark to ensure that you are confident in the business’ ability to grow your capital at a level that grants an investment over other companies. We’ll look at Eastman Chemical’s returns by computing return on capital employed, which will tell us what the company can generate from the money spent in operations. I have calculated Eastman Chemical’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for EMN

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

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US\$1.50b ÷ (US\$16.26b – US\$2.07b) = 10.6%

EMN’s 10.6% ROCE means that for every \$100 you invest, the company creates \$10.6. This shows Eastman Chemical provides an uninspiring capital return that is slightly below the 15% ROCE that is typically considered to be a strong benchmark. Nevertheless, if EMN is clever with their reinvestments or dividend payments, investors can still grow their capital but may not see the same compounded performance as other high-returning companies.

A deeper look

Although Eastman Chemical is in an unfavourable position, you should know that this could change if the company is able to increase earnings on the same capital base or find new efficiencies that require less capital to produce earnings. So it is important for investors to understand what is going on under the hood and look at how these variables have been behaving. Looking at the past 3 year period shows us that EMN weakened investor return on capital employed from 10.6%. Over the same period, EBT went from US\$1.50b to US\$1.50b but capital employed has improved by a relatively larger volume as a result of an increase in total assets , indicating that the previous growth in earnings has not been able to improve ROCE because the company now needs to employ more capital to operate the business.

Next Steps

Eastman Chemical’s ROCE has decreased in the recent past and is currently at a level that makes us question whether the company is capable of providing a suitable 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. If you’re building your portfolio and want to take a deeper look, I’ve added a few links below that will help you further evaluate EMN or move on to other alternatives.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for EMN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for EMN’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is EMN worth today? Despite the unattractive ROCE, is the outlook correctly factored in to the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether EMN is currently undervalued 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.