Stock Analysis

Be Wary Of CLPS Incorporation (NASDAQ:CLPS) And Its Returns On Capital

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NasdaqGM:CLPS
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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. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think CLPS Incorporation (NASDAQ:CLPS) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for CLPS Incorporation, this is the formula:

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

0.10 = US$3.9m ÷ (US$66m - US$28m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Thus, CLPS Incorporation has an ROCE of 10%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the IT industry average of 11%.

See our latest analysis for CLPS Incorporation

roce
NasdaqGM:CLPS Return on Capital Employed March 22nd 2021

While the past is not representative of the future, it can be helpful to know how a company has performed historically, which is why we have this chart above. If you're interested in investigating CLPS Incorporation's past further, check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

So How Is CLPS Incorporation's ROCE Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at CLPS Incorporation, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 23% over the last four years. 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.

On a related note, CLPS Incorporation has decreased its current liabilities to 42% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE. Keep in mind 42% is still pretty high, so those risks are still somewhat prevalent.

The Bottom Line

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that CLPS Incorporation is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 237% to shareholders in the last year. 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.

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

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.

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What are the risks and opportunities for CLPS Incorporation?

CLPS Incorporation provides information technology (IT), consulting, and solutions to institutions operating in banking, insurance, and financial sectors in the People’s Republic of China and internationally.

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Rewards

  • Price-To-Earnings ratio (7.8x) is below the US market (15.3x)

Risks

  • High level of non-cash earnings

  • Does not have a meaningful market cap ($35M)

  • Shareholders have been diluted in the past year

  • Profit margins (2.9%) are lower than last year (5.4%)

  • Volatile share price over the past 3 months

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CLPS Incorporation

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