What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. In light of that, when we looked at Nelcast (NSE:NELCAST) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. To calculate this metric for Nelcast, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.055 = ₹326m ÷ (₹9.0b - ₹3.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Thus, Nelcast has an ROCE of 5.5%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Metals and Mining industry average of 18%.
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for Nelcast's ROCE against it's prior returns. If you'd like to look at how Nelcast has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Can We Tell From Nelcast's ROCE Trend?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Nelcast, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 5.5% from 14% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
Our Take On Nelcast's ROCE
While returns have fallen for Nelcast in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. These trends are starting to be recognized by investors since the stock has delivered a 29% gain to shareholders who've held over the last five years. Therefore we'd recommend looking further into this stock to confirm if it has the makings of a good investment.
Nelcast does have some risks, we noticed 5 warning signs (and 2 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.
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.
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.