If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we’d want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it’s a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at Cowealth Medical Holding (GTSM:4745) and its ROCE trend, we weren’t exactly thrilled.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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 Cowealth Medical Holding:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)
0.098 = NT$351m ÷ (NT$5.4b – NT$1.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Thus, Cowealth Medical Holding has an ROCE of 9.8%. In absolute terms, that’s a low return but it’s around the Healthcare industry average of 8.5%.
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Cowealth Medical Holding’s ROCE against it’s prior returns. If you’d like to look at how Cowealth Medical Holding has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Cowealth Medical Holding, we didn’t gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 19% over the last five years. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It’s worth keeping an eye on the company’s earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.
On a side note, Cowealth Medical Holding has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 34% 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.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, we’ve found that Cowealth Medical Holding is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. And in the last five years, the stock has given away 17% so the market doesn’t look too hopeful on these trends strengthening any time soon. 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.
Cowealth Medical Holding does have some risks, we noticed 4 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think 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.
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