Return Trends At Estia Health (ASX:EHE) Aren't Appealing

·3 min read

If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding 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 briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Estia Health (ASX:EHE) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

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. The formula for this calculation on Estia Health is:

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

0.071 = AU$56m ÷ (AU$1.8b - AU$1.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

Therefore, Estia Health has an ROCE of 7.1%. On its own, that's a low figure but it's around the 6.2% average generated by the Healthcare industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Estia Health

roce
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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Estia Health 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 Estia Health.

What Can We Tell From Estia Health's ROCE Trend?

We're a bit concerned with the trends, because the business is applying 20% less capital than it was five years ago and returns on that capital have stayed flat. This indicates to us that assets are being sold and thus the business is likely shrinking, which you'll remember isn't the typical ingredients for an up-and-coming multi-bagger. Not only that, but the low returns on this capital mentioned earlier would leave most investors unimpressed.

On another note, while the change in ROCE trend might not scream for attention, it's interesting that the current liabilities have actually gone up over the last five years. This is intriguing because if current liabilities hadn't increased to 57% of total assets, this reported ROCE would probably be less than7.1% because total capital employed would be higher.The 7.1% ROCE could be even lower if current liabilities weren't 57% of total assets, because the the formula would show a larger base of total capital employed. So with current liabilities at such high levels, this effectively means the likes of suppliers or short-term creditors are funding a meaningful part of the business, which in some instances can bring some risks.

Our Take On Estia Health's ROCE

Overall, we're not ecstatic to see Estia Health reducing the amount of capital it employs in the business. Since the stock has declined 22% over the last five years, investors may not be too optimistic on this trend improving either. 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.

One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Estia Health and understanding this should be part of your investment process.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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