Capital Allocation Trends At NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) Aren't Ideal

Published
August 11, 2022
NasdaqGS:NTES
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Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing 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 NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

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

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. To calculate this metric for NetEase, this is the formula:

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

0.16 = CN¥18b ÷ (CN¥159b - CN¥52b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

So, NetEase has an ROCE of 16%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 5.9% generated by the Entertainment industry.

View our latest analysis for NetEase

roce
NasdaqGS:NTES Return on Capital Employed August 11th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for NetEase 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 NetEase here for free.

What Does the ROCE Trend For NetEase Tell Us?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at NetEase doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 16% from 34% five years ago. 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. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

The Bottom Line

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for NetEase. Furthermore the stock has climbed 73% over the last five years, it would appear that investors are upbeat about the future. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

While NetEase doesn't shine too bright in this respect, it's still worth seeing if the company is trading at attractive prices. You can find that out with our FREE intrinsic value estimation on our platform.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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

Find out whether NetEase 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.

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