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What We Make Of Liquidity Services' (NASDAQ:LQDT) Returns On Capital

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Simply Wall St
·3 min read
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What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. So on that note, Liquidity Services (NASDAQ:LQDT) looks quite promising in regards to its trends of return on capital.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Liquidity Services is:

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

0.051 = US$6.5m ÷ (US$205m - US$77m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Therefore, Liquidity Services has an ROCE of 5.1%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Online Retail industry average of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Liquidity Services

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Liquidity Services compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Can We Tell From Liquidity Services' ROCE Trend?

It's great to see that Liquidity Services has started to generate some pre-tax earnings from prior investments. While the business is profitable now, it used to be incurring losses on invested capital five years ago. In regards to capital employed, Liquidity Services is using 41% less capital than it was five years ago, which on the surface, can indicate that the business has become more efficient at generating these returns. Liquidity Services could be selling under-performing assets since the ROCE is improving.

On a side note, we noticed that the improvement in ROCE appears to be partly fueled by an increase in current liabilities. The current liabilities has increased to 38% of total assets, so the business is now more funded by the likes of its suppliers or short-term creditors. It's worth keeping an eye on this because as the percentage of current liabilities to total assets increases, some aspects of risk also increase.

Our Take On Liquidity Services' ROCE

In the end, Liquidity Services has proven it's capital allocation skills are good with those higher returns from less amount of capital. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Liquidity Services, we've discovered 3 warning signs that you should be aware of.

While Liquidity Services isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.