Returns At Vector (NZSE:VCT) Appear To Be Weighed Down

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 27, 2021
NZSE:VCT
Source: Shutterstock

If you're not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Although, when we looked at Vector (NZSE:VCT), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

What is 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 Vector, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.061 = NZ$366m ÷ (NZ$6.5b - NZ$551m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, Vector has an ROCE of 6.1%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Integrated Utilities industry average of 5.5%.

View our latest analysis for Vector

roce
NZSE:VCT Return on Capital Employed November 27th 2021

In the above chart we have measured Vector's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

Over the past five years, Vector's ROCE and capital employed have both remained mostly flat. Businesses with these traits tend to be mature and steady operations because they're past the growth phase. With that in mind, unless investment picks up again in the future, we wouldn't expect Vector to be a multi-bagger going forward. On top of that you'll notice that Vector has been paying out a large portion (103%) of earnings in the form of dividends to shareholders. These mature businesses typically have reliable earnings and not many places to reinvest them, so the next best option is to put the earnings into shareholders pockets.

The Bottom Line

In summary, Vector isn't compounding its earnings but is generating stable returns on the same amount of capital employed. Since the stock has gained an impressive 60% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. But if the trajectory of these underlying trends continue, we think the likelihood of it being a multi-bagger from here isn't high.

If you'd like to know more about Vector, we've spotted 3 warning signs, and 2 of them can't be ignored.

While Vector isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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