Stock Analysis

Michael Hill International (ASX:MHJ) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

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ASX:MHJ
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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 keep an eye out for. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Michael Hill International (ASX:MHJ) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

What is 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. To calculate this metric for Michael Hill International, this is the formula:

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

0.077 = AU$28m ÷ (AU$542m - AU$182m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Therefore, Michael Hill International has an ROCE of 7.7%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 20%.

Check out our latest analysis for Michael Hill International

roce
ASX:MHJ Return on Capital Employed April 12th 2021

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Michael Hill International compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Michael Hill International here for free.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Michael Hill International Tell Us?

In terms of Michael Hill International's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 14% over the last five years. And considering revenue has dropped while employing more capital, we'd be cautious. If this were to continue, you might be looking at a company that is trying to reinvest for growth but is actually losing market share since sales haven't increased.

The Key Takeaway

We're a bit apprehensive about Michael Hill International because despite more capital being deployed in the business, returns on that capital and sales have both fallen. Long term shareholders who've owned the stock over the last three years have experienced a 29% depreciation in their investment, so it appears the market might not like these trends either. That being the case, unless the underlying trends revert to a more positive trajectory, we'd consider looking elsewhere.

One more thing, we've spotted 1 warning sign facing Michael Hill International that you might find interesting.

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