hGears (ETR:HGEA) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital
If you're not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding 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 hGears (ETR:HGEA) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
Understanding 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. To calculate this metric for hGears, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.032 = €3.9m ÷ (€155m - €33m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
Thus, hGears has an ROCE of 3.2%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Auto Components industry average of 9.2%.
Check out our latest analysis for hGears
Above you can see how the current ROCE for hGears compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for hGears.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
In terms of hGears' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last four years, returns on capital have decreased to 3.2% from 5.4% four years ago. However it looks like hGears might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.
On a side note, hGears has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 22% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. 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. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.
Our Take On hGears' ROCE
In summary, hGears is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Since the stock has declined 69% over the last year, investors may not be too optimistic on this trend improving either. All in all, the inherent trends aren't typical of multi-baggers, so if that's what you're after, we think you might have more luck elsewhere.
One more thing to note, we've identified 2 warning signs with hGears and understanding these 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.
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