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Returns On Capital Signal Tricky Times Ahead For InvoCare (ASX:IVC)

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If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think InvoCare (ASX:IVC) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

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

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for InvoCare:

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

0.034 = AU$53m ÷ (AU$1.8b - AU$182m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Thus, InvoCare has an ROCE of 3.4%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Consumer Services industry average of 9.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for InvoCare

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In the above chart we have measured InvoCare'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 InvoCare here for free.

What Can We Tell From InvoCare's ROCE Trend?

Unfortunately, the trend isn't great with ROCE falling from 9.5% five years ago, while capital employed has grown 75%. However, some of the increase in capital employed could be attributed to the recent capital raising that's been completed prior to their latest reporting period, so keep that in mind when looking at the ROCE decrease. InvoCare 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.

The Key Takeaway

To conclude, we've found that InvoCare is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Additionally, the stock's total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat, which isn't too surprising. All in all, the inherent trends aren't typical of multi-baggers, so if that's what you're after, we think you might have more luck elsewhere.

If you'd like to know more about InvoCare, we've spotted 3 warning signs, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.

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. 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.