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Our Take On The Returns On Capital At Elders (ASX:ELD)

Simply Wall St
·3 min read

To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding 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. Having said that, from a first glance at Elders (ASX:ELD) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Elders:

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

0.10 = AU$86m ÷ (AU$1.6b - AU$790m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).

So, Elders has an ROCE of 10%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 4.4% generated by the Food industry.

See our latest analysis for Elders

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Elders 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.

How Are Returns Trending?

The trend of ROCE doesn't look fantastic because it's fallen from 27% five years ago, while the business's capital employed increased by 546%. That being said, Elders raised some capital prior to their latest results being released, so that could partly explain the increase in capital employed. Elders probably hasn't received a full year of earnings yet from the new funds it raised, so these figures should be taken with a grain of salt.

On a related note, Elders has decreased its current liabilities to 49% 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. Keep in mind 49% is still pretty high, so those risks are still somewhat prevalent.

The Key Takeaway

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Elders is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 229% to shareholders in the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Elders (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should know about.

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.

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.