Stock Analysis

CSP (NASDAQ:CSPI) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

NasdaqGM:CSPI
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If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Although, when we looked at CSP (NASDAQ:CSPI), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

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)

0.037 = US$1.7m ÷ (US$69m - US$23m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

So, CSP has an ROCE of 3.7%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the IT industry average of 11%.

See our latest analysis for CSP

roce
NasdaqGM:CSPI Return on Capital Employed March 29th 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.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at CSP doesn't inspire confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 11%, but since then they've fallen to 3.7%. 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 side note, CSP has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 33% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. 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.

The Bottom Line On CSP's ROCE

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for CSP. These trends are starting to be recognized by investors since the stock has delivered a 27% gain to shareholders who've held 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.

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 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.