Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) May Have Issues Allocating Its Capital

Published
July 22, 2022
NasdaqGS:RMBS
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When we're researching a company, it's sometimes hard to find the warning signs, but there are some financial metrics that can help spot trouble early. Businesses in decline often have two underlying trends, firstly, a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining base of capital employed. This reveals that the company isn't compounding shareholder wealth because returns are falling and its net asset base is shrinking. And from a first read, things don't look too good at Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS), so let's see why.

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

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

0.051 = US$46m ÷ (US$1.1b - US$168m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

Thus, Rambus has an ROCE of 5.1%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Semiconductor industry average of 15%.

View our latest analysis for Rambus

roce
NasdaqGS:RMBS Return on Capital Employed July 22nd 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Rambus 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 Rambus.

How Are Returns Trending?

In terms of Rambus' historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. About five years ago, returns on capital were 6.7%, however they're now substantially lower than that as we saw above. Meanwhile, capital employed in the business has stayed roughly the flat over the period. Companies that exhibit these attributes tend to not be shrinking, but they can be mature and facing pressure on their margins from competition. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Rambus to turn into a multi-bagger.

On a side note, Rambus' current liabilities have increased over the last five years to 16% of total assets, effectively distorting the ROCE to some degree. If current liabilities hadn't increased as much as they did, the ROCE could actually be even lower. While the ratio isn't currently too high, it's worth keeping an eye on this because if it gets particularly high, the business could then face some new elements of risk.

Our Take On Rambus' ROCE

In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. Yet despite these concerning fundamentals, the stock has performed strongly with a 87% return over the last five years, so investors appear very optimistic. Regardless, we don't feel too comfortable with the fundamentals so we'd be steering clear of this stock for now.

If you're still interested in Rambus it's worth checking out our FREE intrinsic value approximation to see if it's trading at an attractive price in other respects.

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 Rambus 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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