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Can Nautilus (NYSE:NLS) Turn Things Around?

Simply Wall St

If we're looking to avoid a business that is in decline, what are the trends that can warn us ahead of time? Typically, we'll see the trend of both return on capital employed (ROCE) declining and this usually coincides with a decreasing amount of capital employed. This reveals that the company isn't compounding shareholder wealth because returns are falling and its net asset base is shrinking. And from a first read, things don't look too good at Nautilus (NYSE:NLS), so let's see why.

What is 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. The formula for this calculation on Nautilus is:

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

0.11 = US$14m ÷ (US$205m - US$78m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

Therefore, Nautilus has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty standard return but compared to the Leisure industry average it falls behind.

See our latest analysis for Nautilus

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Nautilus 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.

The Trend Of ROCE

We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Nautilus. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 31% that they were earning five years ago. And on the capital employed front, the business is utilizing roughly the same amount of capital as it was back then. Since returns are falling and the business has the same amount of assets employed, this can suggest it's a mature business that hasn't had much growth in the last five years. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Nautilus becoming one if things continue as they have.

On a side note, Nautilus' current liabilities have increased over the last five years to 38% of total assets, effectively distorting the ROCE to some degree. If current liabilities hadn't increased as much as they did, the ROCE could actually be even lower. While the ratio isn't currently too high, it's worth keeping an eye on this because if it gets particularly high, the business could then face some new elements of risk.

The Bottom Line On Nautilus' ROCE

In summary, it's unfortunate that Nautilus is generating lower returns from the same amount of capital. Investors haven't taken kindly to these developments, since the stock has declined 19% from where it was five years ago. That being the case, unless the underlying trends revert to a more positive trajectory, we'd consider looking elsewhere.

If you'd like to know more about Nautilus, we've spotted 3 warning signs, and 1 of them is potentially serious.

While Nautilus 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@simplywallst.com.