Returns on capital at the front door (NASDAQ: FTDR) do not inspire confidence

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If you’re not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should watch out for. First, we will want to see a return on capital employed (ROCE) which increases and, on the other hand, a based capital employed. Basically, this means that a business has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a hallmark of a dialing machine. That said, while the ROCE is currently high for front door (NASDAQ: FTDR), we are not jumping out of our chairs because returns are dropping.

Understanding Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those who don’t know what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profit a business can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for the front door:

Return on capital employed = Profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) ÷ (Total assets – Current liabilities)

0.22 = $ 202 million ÷ ($ 1.4 billion – $ 439 million) (Based on the last twelve months up to March 2021).

Therefore, frontdoor has a ROCE of 22%. This is a fantastic return and not only that, it exceeds the 8.1% average earned by companies in a similar industry.

See our latest review for the front door

NasdaqGS: FTDR Return on capital employed June 29, 2021

Above you can see how the Gateway’s current ROCE compares to its previous returns on capital, but there’s not much you can say about the past. If you like, you can view analyst forecasts covering frontdoor here for free.

So what’s the frontdoor ROCE trend?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at frontdoor, we didn’t gain much trust. While it’s comforting that ROCE is high, it was 31% four years ago. However, it looks like Frontdoor is reinvesting for long-term growth, as although capital employed has increased, the company’s sales haven’t changed much in the past 12 months. It may take some time for the business to begin to see a change in the benefits of these investments.

On a related note, frontdoor reduced its current liabilities to 32% of total assets. So we could link some of that to the decrease in ROCE. In addition, it can reduce some aspects of the risk to the business, as the company’s suppliers or short-term creditors are now less funding its operations. Some argue that this reduces the company’s efficiency in generating ROCE since it now finances more of the operations with its own money.

The key to take away

In summary, frontdoor is reinvesting funds into the business for growth, but sadly it looks like sales haven’t grown much yet. Since the stock has gained an impressive 15% over the past year, investors must think there are better things to come. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, our hopes would not be too high.

The front door does carry some risks though, we found 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of them is a bit disturbing …

If you’d like to see other companies driving high returns, check out our free List of high yielding companies with strong balance sheets here.

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