If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base 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. Having said that, from a first glance at Hollywood Bowl Group (LON:BOWL) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
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 Hollywood Bowl Group:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.021 = UK£5.6m ÷ (UK£301m - UK£32m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
Therefore, Hollywood Bowl Group has an ROCE of 2.1%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Hospitality industry average of 4.0%.
In the above chart we have measured Hollywood Bowl 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.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
In terms of Hollywood Bowl Group's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 16% 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.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, Hollywood Bowl Group is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Since the stock has gained an impressive 88% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.
One more thing, we've spotted 2 warning signs facing Hollywood Bowl Group that you might find interesting.
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.
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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.