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%.
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.
When trading Howden Joinery Group or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether Howden Joinery Group 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.View the Free Analysis
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
Howden Joinery Group
Howden Joinery Group Plc, a trade kitchen supplier, provides various products across kitchens, joinery, and hardware in the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium.
Outstanding track record with flawless balance sheet and pays a dividend.