Returns Are Gaining Momentum At SFL (NYSE:SFL)
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. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in SFL's (NYSE:SFL) returns on capital, so let's have a look.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?
Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for SFL:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.097 = US$251m ÷ (US$3.7b - US$1.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
Therefore, SFL has an ROCE of 9.7%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Oil and Gas industry average of 21%.
View our latest analysis for SFL
In the above chart we have measured SFL'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 report for SFL.
How Are Returns Trending?
SFL has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 66% over the last five years. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.
For the record though, there was a noticeable increase in the company's current liabilities over the period, so we would attribute some of the ROCE growth to that. Essentially the business now has suppliers or short-term creditors funding about 30% of its operations, which isn't ideal. Keep an eye out for future increases because when the ratio of current liabilities to total assets gets particularly high, this can introduce some new risks for the business.
The Key Takeaway
As discussed above, SFL appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. Since the total return from the stock has been almost flat over the last five years, there might be an opportunity here if the valuation looks good. With that in mind, we believe the promising trends warrant this stock for further investigation.
SFL does have some risks, we noticed 4 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.
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.
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