# Spire Healthcare Group plc (LON:SPI): The Return Story

Purchasing Spire Healthcare Group gives you an ownership stake in the company. As a result, your investment is being put to work to fund operations and if you want to earn an attractive return on your investment, the business needs to be making an adequate amount of money from the funds you provide. Your return is tied to SPI’s ability to do this because the amount earned is used to invest in opportunities to grow the business or payout dividends, which are the two sources of return on investment. Thus, to understand how your money can grow by investing in Spire Healthcare Group, you need to look at what the company returns to owners for the use of their capital, which can be done in many ways but today we will use return on capital employed (ROCE).

### ROCE: Explanation and Calculation

Choosing to invest in Spire Healthcare Group comes at the cost of investing in another potentially favourable company. The cost of missing out on another opportunity comes in the form of the potential long term gain you could’ve received, which is dependent on the gap between the return on capital you could’ve achieved and that of the company you invested in. Hence, capital returns are very important, and should be examined before you invest in conjunction with a certain benchmark that represents the minimum return you require to be compensated for the risk of missing out on other potentially lucrative investments. To determine Spire Healthcare Group’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). I have calculated Spire Healthcare Group’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for SPI

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = UK£71.90m ÷ (UK£1.73b – UK£125.60m) = 4.47%

As you can see, SPI earned £4.5 from every £100 you invested over the previous twelve months. This shows Spire Healthcare Group provides an unsatisfying capital return that is well below the 15% ROCE that is typically considered to be a strong benchmark. Nevertheless, if SPI is clever with their reinvestments or dividend payments, investors can still grow their capital although to a poor extent.

### A deeper look

SPI doesn’t return an attractive amount on capital, but this will only continue if the company is unable to increase earnings or decrease current capital requirements. Because of this, it is important to look beyond the final value of SPI’s ROCE and understand what is happening to the individual components. If you go back three years, you’ll find that SPI’s ROCE has increased from 1.93%. With this, the current earnings of UK£71.90m improved from UK£28.50m and the amount of capital employed also grew but by a proportionally lesser volume, which suggests the larger ROCE is due to a growth in earnings relative to capital requirements.

### Next Steps

Despite SPI’s current ROCE remains at an unattractive level, the company has triggered an upward trend over the recent past which could signal an opportunity for a solid return on investment in the long term. It is important to know that ROCE does not dictate returns alone, so you need to consider other fundamentals in the business such as future prospects and valuation to determine if an opportunity exists that isn’t made apparent by looking at past data. Spire Healthcare Group’s fundamentals can be explored with the links I’ve provided below if you are interested, otherwise you can start looking at other high-performing stocks.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SPI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SPI’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is SPI worth today? Despite the unattractive ROCE, is the outlook correctly factored in to the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether SPI is currently undervalued by the market.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.