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If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. 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. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. In light of that, when we looked at Epwin Group (LON:EPWN) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Epwin Group:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.094 = UK£18m ÷ (UK£272m - UK£83m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Thus, Epwin Group has an ROCE of 9.4%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Building industry average of 14%.
In the above chart we have measured Epwin Group'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.
So How Is Epwin Group's ROCE Trending?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Epwin Group, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 9.4% from 21% 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. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.
On a side note, Epwin Group has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 31% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.
Our Take On Epwin Group's ROCE
While returns have fallen for Epwin Group in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. However, despite the promising trends, the stock has fallen 17% over the last five years, so there might be an opportunity here for astute investors. As a result, we'd recommend researching this stock further to uncover what other fundamentals of the business can show us.
One more thing to note, we've identified 2 warning signs with Epwin Group and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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.
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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.