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. Although, when we looked at Griffin Mining (LON:GFM), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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 Griffin Mining, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.015 = US$3.2m ÷ (US$243m - US$27m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).
Therefore, Griffin Mining has an ROCE of 1.5%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Metals and Mining industry average of 12%.
In the above chart we have a measured Griffin Mining's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Griffin Mining.
So How Is Griffin Mining's ROCE Trending?
In terms of Griffin Mining's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 3.4%, but since then they've fallen to 1.5%. Given the business is employing more capital while revenue has slipped, this is a bit concerning. This could mean that the business is losing its competitive advantage or market share, because while more money is being put into ventures, it's actually producing a lower return - "less bang for their buck" per se.On a related note, Griffin Mining has decreased its current liabilities to 11% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.
The Bottom Line
In summary, we're somewhat concerned by Griffin Mining's diminishing returns on increasing amounts of capital. However the stock has delivered a 52% return to shareholders over the last five years, so investors might be expecting the trends to turn around. Regardless, we don't feel to comfortable with the fundamentals so we'd be steering clear of this stock for now.
One more thing, we've spotted 1 warning sign facing Griffin Mining that you might find interesting.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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