Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. With that in mind, we've noticed some promising trends at Lifeway Foods (NASDAQ:LWAY) so let's look a bit deeper.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Lifeway Foods:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.12 = US$6.6m ÷ (US$62m - US$9.1m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
So, Lifeway Foods has an ROCE of 12%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Food industry average of 10% it's much better.NasdaqGM:LWAY Return on Capital Employed July 8th 2021
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Lifeway Foods' ROCE against it's prior returns. If you're interested in investigating Lifeway Foods' past further, check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
Lifeway Foods has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 46% over the last five years. So it's likely that the business is now reaping the full benefits of its past investments, since the capital employed hasn't changed considerably. On that front, things are looking good so it's worth exploring what management has said about growth plans going forward.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, we're delighted to see that Lifeway Foods has been able to increase efficiencies and earn higher rates of return on the same amount of capital. Given the stock has declined 48% in the last five years, this could be a good investment if the valuation and other metrics are also appealing. With that in mind, we believe the promising trends warrant this stock for further investigation.
Lifeway Foods does have some risks, we noticed 4 warning signs (and 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) we think you should know about.
While Lifeway Foods isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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.
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In This StoryLWAY
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