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There Are Reasons To Feel Uneasy About Fresh Del Monte Produce's (NYSE:FDP) Returns On Capital

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Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. 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. In light of that, when we looked at Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYSE:FDP) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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. To calculate this metric for Fresh Del Monte Produce, this is the formula:

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

0.047 = US$131m ÷ (US$3.4b - US$563m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

Thus, Fresh Del Monte Produce has an ROCE of 4.7%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Food industry average of 9.5%.

See our latest analysis for Fresh Del Monte Produce

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In the above chart we have measured Fresh Del Monte Produce's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Fresh Del Monte Produce here for free.

The Trend Of ROCE

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Fresh Del Monte Produce, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 10%, but since then they've fallen to 4.7%. However it looks like Fresh Del Monte Produce might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

The Bottom Line On Fresh Del Monte Produce's ROCE

To conclude, we've found that Fresh Del Monte Produce is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. And in the last five years, the stock has given away 46% so the market doesn't look too hopeful on these trends strengthening any time soon. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Fresh Del Monte Produce has the makings of a multi-bagger.

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

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.

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.

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