Stock Analysis

Howden Joinery Group (LON:HWDN) May Have Issues Allocating Its Capital

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LSE:HWDN
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Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at Howden Joinery Group (LON:HWDN) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Howden Joinery Group:

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

0.15 = UK£195m ÷ (UK£1.7b - UK£393m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Therefore, Howden Joinery Group has an ROCE of 15%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Trade Distributors industry average of 13%.

Check out our latest analysis for Howden Joinery Group

roce
LSE:HWDN Return on Capital Employed August 24th 2021

In the above chart we have measured Howden Joinery Group'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?

In terms of Howden Joinery Group's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 45% over the last five years. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.

What We Can Learn From Howden Joinery Group's ROCE

In summary, Howden Joinery Group is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Investors must think there's better things to come because the stock has knocked it out of the park, delivering a 127% gain to shareholders who have held over the last five years. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.

Howden Joinery Group could be trading at an attractive price in other respects, so you might find our free intrinsic value estimation on our platform quite valuable.

While Howden Joinery Group 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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