If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. 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. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, from a first glance at WH Group (HKG:288) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for WH Group:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.085 = US$1.2b ÷ (US$20b - US$5.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).
Therefore, WH Group has an ROCE of 8.5%. On its own, that's a low figure but it's around the 9.8% average generated by the Food industry.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for WH Group compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for WH Group.
So How Is WH Group's ROCE Trending?
In terms of WH Group's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 17%, but since then they've fallen to 8.5%. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.
The Key Takeaway
To conclude, we've found that WH Group is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Additionally, the stock's total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat, which isn't too surprising. In any case, the stock doesn't have these traits of a multi-bagger discussed above, so if that's what you're looking for, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.
On a separate note, we've found 2 warning signs for WH Group you'll probably want to know about.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high 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.