Returns On Capital At 3U Holding (ETR:UUU) Have Hit The Brakes

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 25, 2022
XTRA:UUU
Source: Shutterstock

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. 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 3U Holding (ETR:UUU) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for 3U Holding, this is the formula:

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

0.022 = €2.0m ÷ (€105m - €16m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

Thus, 3U Holding has an ROCE of 2.2%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Industrials industry average of 6.5%.

Check out our latest analysis for 3U Holding

roce
XTRA:UUU Return on Capital Employed February 25th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for 3U Holding 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 3U Holding here for free.

The Trend Of ROCE

Over the past five years, 3U Holding'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 3U Holding in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger. This probably explains why 3U Holding is paying out 57% of its income to shareholders in the form of dividends. 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 3U Holding's returns on capital employed and the trends, there isn't much change to report on. Investors must think there's better things to come because the stock has knocked it out of the park, delivering a 260% gain to shareholders who have held over the last five years. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.

One final note, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with 3U Holding (including 1 which is potentially serious) .

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.

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