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Beiersdorf (ETR:BEI) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. 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. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Beiersdorf (ETR:BEI) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Beiersdorf:

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

0.13 = €1.2b ÷ (€13b - €3.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

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So, Beiersdorf has an ROCE of 13%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Personal Products industry average of 11%.

See our latest analysis for Beiersdorf

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In the above chart we have measured Beiersdorf's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free analyst report for Beiersdorf .

What Can We Tell From Beiersdorf's ROCE Trend?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Beiersdorf, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 16% over the last five years. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. 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.

The Bottom Line On Beiersdorf's ROCE

In summary, Beiersdorf is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Although the market must be expecting these trends to improve because the stock has gained 62% over the last five years. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.

While Beiersdorf doesn't shine too bright in this respect, it's still worth seeing if the company is trading at attractive prices. You can find that out with our FREE intrinsic value estimation for BEI on our platform.

While Beiersdorf isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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.