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American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

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 American Airlines Group:

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

0.00031 = US$14m ÷ (US$67b - US$22b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

Thus, American Airlines Group has an ROCE of 0.03%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Airlines industry average of 6.1%.

See our latest analysis for American Airlines Group

roce
roce

In the above chart we have measured American Airlines 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 American Airlines Group's ROCE Trending?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at American Airlines Group doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 0.03% from 14% 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.

Our Take On American Airlines Group's ROCE

While returns have fallen for American Airlines 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 70% over the last five years, so there might be an opportunity here for astute investors. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.

American Airlines Group does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 2 which are concerning) we think you should know about.

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high 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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