There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next 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. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. Having said that, from a first glance at Halfords Group (LON:HFD) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
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 Halfords Group:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.11 = UK£100m ÷ (UK£1.3b - UK£399m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2022).
So, Halfords Group has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Specialty Retail industry average of 14%.
In the above chart we have measured Halfords 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.
How Are Returns Trending?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Halfords Group, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 15% over the last five years. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, Halfords Group is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. And in the last five years, the stock has given away 44% so the market doesn't look too hopeful on these trends strengthening any time soon. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Halfords Group has the makings of a multi-bagger.
If you want to know some of the risks facing Halfords Group we've found 4 warning signs (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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.