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Capital Allocation Trends At Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) Aren't Ideal

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If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, 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. In light of that, when we looked at Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

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 Collins Foods:

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

0.091 = AU$92m ÷ (AU$1.2b - AU$143m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2021).

So, Collins Foods has an ROCE of 9.1%. On its own that's a low return, but compared to the average of 6.1% generated by the Hospitality industry, it's much better.

View our latest analysis for Collins Foods

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Collins Foods 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.

The Trend Of ROCE

In terms of Collins Foods' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 14%, but since then they've fallen to 9.1%. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

Our Take On Collins Foods' ROCE

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Collins Foods is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. And the stock has done incredibly well with a 207% return over the last five years, so long term investors are no doubt ecstatic with that result. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

If you want to continue researching Collins Foods, you might be interested to know about the 1 warning sign that our analysis has discovered.

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.

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.

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

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