Stock Analysis

Capital Allocation Trends At PNE (ETR:PNE3) Aren't Ideal

XTRA:PNE3
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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. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. In light of that, when we looked at PNE (ETR:PNE3) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. The formula for this calculation on PNE is:

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

0.013 = €9.9m ÷ (€883m - €132m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

Thus, PNE has an ROCE of 1.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Electrical industry average of 10%.

Check out our latest analysis for PNE

roce
XTRA:PNE3 Return on Capital Employed October 5th 2022

In the above chart we have measured PNE'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?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at PNE, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 38%, but since then they've fallen to 1.3%. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

On a related note, PNE has decreased its current liabilities to 15% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. 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. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

The Bottom Line

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for PNE. And the stock has done incredibly well with a 649% return over the last five years, so long term investors are no doubt ecstatic with that result. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

PNE does have some risks though, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for PNE that you might be interested in.

While PNE 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.

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

Find out whether PNE 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.