If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look 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. 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 Northern Region Cement (TADAWUL:3004), we don’t think it’s current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.
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. The formula for this calculation on Northern Region Cement is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)
0.046 = ر.س114m ÷ (ر.س3.3b – ر.س808m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
So, Northern Region Cement has an ROCE of 4.6%. Ultimately, that’s a low return and it under-performs the Basic Materials industry average of 6.5%.
See our latest analysis for Northern Region Cement
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Northern Region Cement 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.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Northern Region Cement, we didn’t gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 8.6%, but since then they’ve fallen to 4.6%. And considering revenue has dropped while employing more capital, we’d be cautious. 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 side note, Northern Region Cement has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 24% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. Some would claim this reduces the business’ efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.
From the above analysis, we find it rather worrisome that returns on capital and sales for Northern Region Cement have fallen, meanwhile the business is employing more capital than it was five years ago. Despite the concerning underlying trends, the stock has actually gained 27% over the last five years, so it might be that the investors are expecting the trends to reverse. Regardless, we don’t like the trends as they are and if they persist, we think you might find better investments elsewhere.
On a final note, we found 2 warning signs for Northern Region Cement (1 shouldn’t be ignored) you should be aware of.
While Northern Region Cement may not currently earn the highest returns, we’ve compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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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.