When researching a stock for investment, what can tell us that the company is in decline? More often than not, we'll see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining amount of capital employed. Basically the company is earning less on its investments and it is also reducing its total assets. Having said that, after a brief look, Magontec (ASX:MGL) we aren't filled with optimism, but let's investigate further.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Magontec is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.0027 = AU$136k ÷ (AU$75m - AU$25m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
So, Magontec has an ROCE of 0.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Metals and Mining industry average of 12%.
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Magontec's ROCE against it's prior returns. If you'd like to look at how Magontec has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
The Trend Of ROCE
In terms of Magontec's historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 0.8% that they were earning five years ago. And on the capital employed front, the business is utilizing roughly the same amount of capital as it was back then. This combination can be indicative of a mature business that still has areas to deploy capital, but the returns received aren't as high due potentially to new competition or smaller margins. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Magontec becoming one if things continue as they have.
On a related note, Magontec has decreased its current liabilities to 33% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.
In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock.
Magontec does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think you should know about.
While Magontec may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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Magontec Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the research, development, manufacture, and sale of generic and specialist alloys in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and internationally.
Flawless balance sheet with outstanding track record.