Stock Analysis

There Are Reasons To Feel Uneasy About Dis-Chem Pharmacies' (JSE:DCP) Returns On Capital

Published
JSE:DCP
Source: Shutterstock

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. So when we looked at Dis-Chem Pharmacies (JSE:DCP), they do have a high ROCE, but we weren't exactly elated from how returns are trending.

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. The formula for this calculation on Dis-Chem Pharmacies is:

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

0.27 = R1.8b ÷ (R15b - R8.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2022).

Thus, Dis-Chem Pharmacies has an ROCE of 27%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Consumer Retailing industry average of 17%.

View our latest analysis for Dis-Chem Pharmacies

roce
JSE:DCP Return on Capital Employed March 29th 2023

In the above chart we have measured Dis-Chem Pharmacies' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

The Trend Of ROCE

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Dis-Chem Pharmacies, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, while the ROCE is still high, it's fallen from 44% where it was 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.

Another thing to note, Dis-Chem Pharmacies has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 55%. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.

In Conclusion...

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Dis-Chem Pharmacies. However, despite the promising trends, the stock has fallen 22% over the last five years, so there might be an opportunity here for astute investors. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.

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

High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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

Find out whether Dis-Chem Pharmacies 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.

View the Free Analysis