Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base 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. In light of that, when we looked at FutureFuel (NYSE:FF) 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 FutureFuel, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.066 = US$18m ÷ (US$337m - US$61m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
Thus, FutureFuel has an ROCE of 6.6%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Chemicals industry average of 12%.
Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for FutureFuel's ROCE against it's prior returns. If you'd like to look at how FutureFuel has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
The Trend Of ROCE
We've noticed that although returns on capital are flat over the last five years, the amount of capital employed in the business has fallen 29% in that same period. To us that doesn't look like a multi-bagger because the company appears to be selling assets and it's returns aren't increasing. In addition to that, since the ROCE doesn't scream "quality" at 6.6%, it's hard to get excited about these developments.
In summary, FutureFuel isn't reinvesting funds back into the business and returns aren't growing. Unsurprisingly then, the total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think FutureFuel has the makings of a multi-bagger.
If you'd like to know more about FutureFuel, we've spotted 3 warning signs, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.
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.
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