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Be Wary Of Calavo Growers (NASDAQ:CVGW) And Its Returns On Capital

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There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. 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. However, after investigating Calavo Growers (NASDAQ:CVGW), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.

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 Calavo Growers:

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

0.10 = US$38m ÷ (US$446m - US$81m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2021).

So, Calavo Growers has an ROCE of 10%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Food industry average of 9.3%.

See our latest analysis for Calavo Growers

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Calavo Growers compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Calavo Growers.

So How Is Calavo Growers' ROCE Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Calavo Growers, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 24% over the last five years. Given the business is employing more capital while revenue has slipped, this is a bit concerning. If this were to continue, you might be looking at a company that is trying to reinvest for growth but is actually losing market share since sales haven't increased.

On a related note, Calavo Growers has decreased its current liabilities to 18% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. 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.

Our Take On Calavo Growers' ROCE

From the above analysis, we find it rather worrisome that returns on capital and sales for Calavo Growers have fallen, meanwhile the business is employing more capital than it was five years ago. But investors must be expecting an improvement of sorts because over the last five yearsthe stock has delivered a respectable 43% return. Regardless, we don't feel too comfortable with the fundamentals so we'd be steering clear of this stock for now.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Calavo Growers, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

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 (at) simplywallst.com.