Stock Analysis

The Returns At American States Water (NYSE:AWR) Aren't Growing

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NYSE:AWR
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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think American States Water (NYSE:AWR) 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 American States Water, this is the formula:

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

0.083 = US$144m ÷ (US$1.9b - US$151m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

So, American States Water has an ROCE of 8.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return, but it's much better than the Water Utilities industry average of 4.5%.

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roce
NYSE:AWR Return on Capital Employed February 5th 2022

In the above chart we have measured American States Water'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.

The Trend Of ROCE

There are better returns on capital out there than what we're seeing at American States Water. The company has consistently earned 8.3% for the last five years, and the capital employed within the business has risen 37% in that time. Given the company has increased the amount of capital employed, it appears the investments that have been made simply don't provide a high return on capital.

The Bottom Line On American States Water's ROCE

In summary, American States Water has simply been reinvesting capital and generating the same low rate of return as before. Yet to long term shareholders the stock has gifted them an incredible 118% return in the last five years, so the market appears to be rosy about its future. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.

If you'd like to know more about American States Water, we've spotted 2 warning signs, and 1 of them is a bit unpleasant.

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

What are the risks and opportunities for American States Water?

American States Water Company, through its subsidiaries, provides water and electric services to residential, commercial, industrial, and other customers in the United States.

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Rewards

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 8.77% per year

Risks

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow

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