Stock Analysis

Will The ROCE Trend At Austin Engineering (ASX:ANG) Continue?

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ASX:ANG
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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. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Austin Engineering's (ASX:ANG) returns on capital, so let's have a look.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Austin Engineering is:

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

0.033 = AU$3.6m ÷ (AU$184m - AU$77m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

Therefore, Austin Engineering has an ROCE of 3.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Machinery industry average of 6.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for Austin Engineering

ASX:ANG Return on Capital Employed June 28th 2020
ASX:ANG Return on Capital Employed June 28th 2020

In the above chart we have a measured Austin Engineering's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Austin Engineering here for free.

So How Is Austin Engineering's ROCE Trending?

Even though ROCE is still low in absolute terms, it's good to see it's heading in the right direction. We found that the returns on capital employed over the last five years have risen by 183%. That's not bad because this tells for every dollar invested (capital employed), the company is increasing the amount earned from that dollar. Interestingly, the business may be becoming more efficient because it's applying 53% less capital than it was five years ago. Austin Engineering may be selling some assets so it's worth investigating if the business has plans for future investments to increase returns further still.

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 42% of its operations, which isn't ideal. Given it's pretty high ratio, we'd remind investors that having current liabilities at those levels can bring about some risks in certain businesses.

The Bottom Line On Austin Engineering's ROCE

In the end, Austin Engineering has proven it's capital allocation skills are good with those higher returns from less amount of capital. And since the stock has fallen 67% over the last five years, there might be an opportunity here. With that in mind, we believe the promising trends warrant this stock for further investigation.

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

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

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About ASX:ANG

Austin Engineering

Austin Engineering Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture, repair, overhaul, and supply of mining attachment products, and other associated products and services for the industrial and resources-related business sectors.

Flawless balance sheet with solid track record.