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Some Investors May Be Worried About C&C Group's (LON:CCR) Returns On Capital

·3-min read

Ignoring the stock price of a company, what are the underlying trends that tell us a business is past the growth phase? When we see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) in conjunction with a declining base of capital employed, that's often how a mature business shows signs of aging. This indicates the company is producing less profit from its investments and its total assets are decreasing. On that note, looking into C&C Group (LON:CCR), we weren't too upbeat about how things were going.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. To calculate this metric for C&C Group, this is the formula:

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

0.058 = €59m ÷ (€1.5b - €456m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2022).

So, C&C Group has an ROCE of 5.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Beverage industry average of 14%.

View our latest analysis for C&C Group

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for C&C Group compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Are Returns Trending?

There is reason to be cautious about C&C Group, given the returns are trending downwards. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 10% that they were earning five years ago. On top of that, it's worth noting that the amount of capital employed within the business has remained relatively steady. This combination can be indicative of a mature business that still has areas to deploy capital, but the returns received aren't as high due potentially to new competition or smaller margins. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on C&C Group becoming one if things continue as they have.

On a side note, C&C Group's current liabilities have increased over the last five years to 31% of total assets, effectively distorting the ROCE to some degree. If current liabilities hadn't increased as much as they did, the ROCE could actually be even lower. While the ratio isn't currently too high, it's worth keeping an eye on this because if it gets particularly high, the business could then face some new elements of risk.

The Bottom Line

In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. Investors haven't taken kindly to these developments, since the stock has declined 30% from where it was year ago. That being the case, unless the underlying trends revert to a more positive trajectory, we'd consider looking elsewhere.

On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for C&C Group you'll probably want to know about.

While C&C Group may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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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