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Is American States Water (NYSE:AWR) Likely To Turn Things Around?

Simply Wall St
·3 min read

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount 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 American States Water (NYSE:AWR) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for American States Water, this is the formula:

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

0.085 = US$131m ÷ (US$1.7b - US$159m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

Therefore, American States Water has an ROCE of 8.5%. In absolute terms, that's a low return, but it's much better than the Water Utilities industry average of 3.4%.

See our latest analysis for American States Water

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for American States Water compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering American States Water here for free.

The Trend Of ROCE

The returns on capital haven't changed much for American States Water in recent years. The company has consistently earned 8.5% for the last five years, and the capital employed within the business has risen 23% in that time. This poor ROCE doesn't inspire confidence right now, and with the increase in capital employed, it's evident that the business isn't deploying the funds into high return investments.

The Key Takeaway

As we've seen above, American States Water's returns on capital haven't increased but it is reinvesting in the business. Yet to long term shareholders the stock has gifted them an incredible 110% return in the last five years, so the market appears to be rosy about its future. But if the trajectory of these underlying trends continue, we think the likelihood of it being a multi-bagger from here isn't high.

On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for American States Water you'll probably want to know about.

While American States Water isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

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