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Some Investors May Be Worried About a2 Milk's (NZSE:ATM) Returns On Capital

What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? 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. Although, when we looked at a2 Milk (NZSE:ATM), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for a2 Milk, this is the formula:

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

0.16 = NZ$201m ÷ (NZ$1.6b - NZ$379m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2023).


Thus, a2 Milk has an ROCE of 16%. By itself that's a normal return on capital and it's in line with the industry's average returns of 16%.

See our latest analysis for a2 Milk

NZSE:ATM Return on Capital Employed January 22nd 2024

Above you can see how the current ROCE for a2 Milk compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering a2 Milk here for free.

What Can We Tell From a2 Milk's ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at a2 Milk doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 50% over the last five years. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

The Bottom Line On a2 Milk's ROCE

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for a2 Milk. However, despite the promising trends, the stock has fallen 62% over the last five years, so there might be an opportunity here for astute investors. As a result, we'd recommend researching this stock further to uncover what other fundamentals of the business can show us.

If you're still interested in a2 Milk it's worth checking out our FREE intrinsic value approximation to see if it's trading at an attractive price in other respects.

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.

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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.