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Hexcel (NYSE:HXL) Will Be Looking To Turn Around Its Returns

What underlying fundamental trends can indicate that a company might be in decline? More often than not, we'll see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining amount of capital employed. This reveals that the company isn't compounding shareholder wealth because returns are falling and its net asset base is shrinking. Having said that, after a brief look, Hexcel (NYSE:HXL) we aren't filled with optimism, but let's investigate further.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Hexcel:

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

0.065 = US$163m ÷ (US$2.8b - US$330m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

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So, Hexcel has an ROCE of 6.5%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Aerospace & Defense industry average of 9.1%.

View our latest analysis for Hexcel

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Hexcel compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Can We Tell From Hexcel's ROCE Trend?

We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Hexcel. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 14% that they were earning five years ago. Meanwhile, capital employed in the business has stayed roughly the flat over the period. Companies that exhibit these attributes tend to not be shrinking, but they can be mature and facing pressure on their margins from competition. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Hexcel to turn into a multi-bagger.

What We Can Learn From Hexcel's ROCE

In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. Despite the concerning underlying trends, the stock has actually gained 4.5% over the last five years, so it might be that the investors are expecting the trends to reverse. Regardless, we don't like the trends as they are and if they persist, we think you might find better investments elsewhere.

On a final note, we've found 1 warning sign for Hexcel that we think you should be aware of.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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