What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount 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. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Kenon Holdings (TLV:KEN) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.
Understanding 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. To calculate this metric for Kenon Holdings, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.018 = US$34m ÷ (US$2.0b - US$149m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Thus, Kenon Holdings has an ROCE of 1.8%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Renewable Energy industry average of 3.2%.
While the past is not representative of the future, it can be helpful to know how a company has performed historically, which is why we have this chart above. If you want to delve into the historical earnings, revenue and cash flow of Kenon Holdings, check out these free graphs here.
What Does the ROCE Trend For Kenon Holdings Tell Us?
Over the past five years, Kenon Holdings' ROCE has remained relatively flat while the business is using 53% less capital than before. To us that doesn't look like a multi-bagger because the company appears to be selling assets and it's returns aren't increasing. In addition to that, since the ROCE doesn't scream "quality" at 1.8%, it's hard to get excited about these developments.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, Kenon Holdings isn't reinvesting funds back into the business and returns aren't growing. Yet to long term shareholders the stock has gifted them an incredible 593% return in the last five years, so the market appears to be rosy about its future. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.
On a final note, we found 3 warning signs for Kenon Holdings (2 can't be ignored) you should be aware of.
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. 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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