Stock Analysis

Here's What To Make Of ATCO's (TSE:ACO.X) Decelerating Rates Of Return

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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Although, when we looked at ATCO (TSE:ACO.X), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. To calculate this metric for ATCO, this is the formula:

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

0.057 = CA$1.3b ÷ (CA$23b - CA$1.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

So, ATCO has an ROCE of 5.7%. In absolute terms, that's a low return, but it's much better than the Integrated Utilities industry average of 4.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for ATCO

TSX:ACO.X Return on Capital Employed September 29th 2022

In the above chart we have measured ATCO's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Are Returns Trending?

Over the past five years, ATCO's ROCE and capital employed have both remained mostly flat. It's not uncommon to see this when looking at a mature and stable business that isn't re-investing its earnings because it has likely passed that phase of the business cycle. So unless we see a substantial change at ATCO in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger. With fewer investment opportunities, it makes sense that ATCO has been paying out a decent 55% of its earnings to shareholders. Given the business isn't reinvesting in itself, it makes sense to distribute a portion of earnings among shareholders.

The Key Takeaway

We can conclude that in regards to ATCO's returns on capital employed and the trends, there isn't much change to report on. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 15% to shareholders over the last five years. So if you're looking for a multi-bagger, the underlying trends indicate you may have better chances elsewhere.

Like most companies, ATCO does come with some risks, and we've found 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether ATCO is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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ATCO Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, provides housing, logistics and transportation, agriculture, water, real estate, and energy and energy infrastructure solutions in Canada, Australia, and internationally.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Future Growth0
Past Performance5
Financial Health3

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Undervalued with solid track record and pays a dividend.