Stock Analysis

CSP (NASDAQ:CSPI) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

NasdaqGM:CSPI
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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing 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. Having said that, from a first glance at CSP (NASDAQ:CSPI) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for CSP:

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

0.043 = US$2.0m ÷ (US$66m - US$20m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2023).

Thus, CSP has an ROCE of 4.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the IT industry average of 14%.

See our latest analysis for CSP

roce
NasdaqGM:CSPI Return on Capital Employed July 2nd 2023

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 want to delve into the historical earnings, revenue and cash flow of CSP, check out these free graphs here.

How Are Returns Trending?

In terms of CSP's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 4.3% from 7.4% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

On a related note, CSP has decreased its current liabilities to 30% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. 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. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

In Conclusion...

While returns have fallen for CSP in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. In light of this, the stock has only gained 32% over the last five years. Therefore we'd recommend looking further into this stock to confirm if it has the makings of a good investment.

One more thing: We've identified 3 warning signs with CSP (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them would certainly be useful.

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.

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

Find out whether CSP 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.