# Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc (NASDAQ:RUTH): Assessing Capital Returns

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc (NASDAQ:RUTH).

If you purchase a RUTH share you are effectively becoming a partner with many other shareholders. Your equity share is granted in return for the capital provided to the business to operate, and in order for an investment to be successful the business has to create earnings from the funds that make up this capital. You need to pay attention to this because your return on investment is linked to dividends and internal investments to improve the business, which can only occur if the company is expected to produce adequate earnings with the capital that has been provided. Thus, to understand how your money can grow by investing in Ruth’s Hospitality Group, you need to look at what the company returns to owners for the use of their capital, which can be done in many ways but today we will use return on capital employed (ROCE).

### Calculating Return On Capital Employed for RUTH

You only have a finite amount of capital to invest, so there are only so many companies that you can add to your portfolio. Therefore all else aside, your investment in a certain company represents a vote of confidence that the money used to buy the stock will grow larger than if invested elsewhere. So the business’ ability to grow the size of your capital is very important and can be assessed by comparing the return on capital you can get on your investment with a hurdle rate that depends on the other return possibilities you can identify. To determine Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). Take a look at the formula box beneath:

ROCE Calculation for RUTH

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US\$50.82m ÷ (US\$231.81m – US\$73.77m) = 32.16%

The calculation above shows that RUTH’s earnings were 32.16% of capital employed. Comparing this to a healthy 15% benchmark shows Ruth’s Hospitality Group is currently able to return a fantastic amount to owners for the use of their capital, which is a good sign for those who believe this will continue and the company’s management will find good uses for the earnings they create.

### Does this mean I should invest?

Although Ruth’s Hospitality Group is in a favourable position, you should know that this could change if the company is unable to maintain a strong ROCE above the benchmark, which will depend on the behaviour of the underlying variables (EBT and capital employed). So it is important for investors to understand what is going on under the hood and look at how these variables have been behaving. Looking at the past 3 year period shows us that RUTH boosted investor return on capital employed from 31.94%. We can see that earnings have increased from US\$40.86m to US\$50.82m whilst capital employed also increased but to a smaller extent, which means the company has been able to improve ROCE by driving up earnings relative to the capital invested in the business.

### Next Steps

RUTH’s investors have enjoyed an upward trend in ROCE and it is above a benchmark that makes the company a potentially attractive stock that can achieve a solid return on investment. This makes the company an attractive place to put your money, but ROCE does not tell the whole picture so you need to pay attention to other fundamentals like future prospects and valuation. It’s important to account for these factors because you cannot be sure if this trend will continue or if you are getting a good deal for the future returns you are paying for. Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s fundamentals can be explored with the links I’ve provided below if you are interested, otherwise you can start looking at other high-performing stocks.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for RUTH’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for RUTH’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is RUTH worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even if its ROCE is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether RUTH is currently mispriced by the market.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.