Unieuro's (BIT:UNIR) Returns On Capital Not Reflecting Well On The Business

Simply Wall St · 09/15/2023 05:11

What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? 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. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Unieuro (BIT:UNIR) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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 Unieuro:

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

0.053 = €28m ÷ (€1.5b - €950m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2023).

Therefore, Unieuro has an ROCE of 5.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 9.5%.

View our latest analysis for Unieuro

roce
BIT:UNIR Return on Capital Employed September 15th 2023

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Unieuro 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 Unieuro.

What Can We Tell From Unieuro's ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Unieuro doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 5.3% from 26% five years ago. 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 related note, Unieuro has decreased its current liabilities to 64% 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. Either way, they're still at a pretty high level, so we'd like to see them fall further if possible.

The Key Takeaway

In summary, Unieuro is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Unsurprisingly, the stock has only gained 9.2% over the last five years, which potentially indicates that investors are accounting for this going forward. Therefore, if you're looking for a multi-bagger, we'd propose looking at other options.

Unieuro does have some risks though, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Unieuro that you might be interested in.

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.