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Sureserve Group (LON:SUR) Shareholders Will Want The ROCE Trajectory To Continue

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If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. So when we looked at Sureserve Group (LON:SUR) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.

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

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Sureserve Group is:

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

0.19 = UK£15m ÷ (UK£143m - UK£66m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

So, Sureserve Group has an ROCE of 19%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 9.1% generated by the Commercial Services industry.

View our latest analysis for Sureserve Group

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

What Does the ROCE Trend For Sureserve Group Tell Us?

We're delighted to see that Sureserve Group is reaping rewards from its investments and has now broken into profitability. The company was generating losses five years ago, but has managed to turn it around and as we saw earlier is now earning 19%, which is always encouraging. On top of that, what's interesting is that the amount of capital being employed has remained steady, so the business hasn't needed to put any additional money to work to generate these higher returns. So while we're happy that the business is more efficient, just keep in mind that could mean that going forward the business is lacking areas to invest internally for growth. After all, a company can only become a long term multi-bagger if it continually reinvests in itself at high rates of return.

On a separate but related note, it's important to know that Sureserve Group has a current liabilities to total assets ratio of 46%, which we'd consider pretty high. This effectively means that suppliers (or short-term creditors) are funding a large portion of the business, so just be aware that this can introduce some elements of risk. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.

The Bottom Line On Sureserve Group's ROCE

As discussed above, Sureserve Group appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. Since the stock has returned a staggering 185% to shareholders over the last five years, it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. So given the stock has proven it has promising trends, it's worth researching the company further to see if these trends are likely to persist.

One more thing, we've spotted 1 warning sign facing Sureserve Group that you might find interesting.

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.

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

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.