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What financial metrics can indicate to us that a company is maturing or even in decline? Typically, we'll see the trend of both return on capital employed (ROCE) declining and this usually coincides with a decreasing amount of capital employed. This combination can tell you that not only is the company investing less, it's earning less on what it does invest. On that note, looking into Gamehost (TSE:GH), we weren't too upbeat about how things were going.
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Gamehost:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.062 = CA$9.8m ÷ (CA$191m - CA$33m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
Therefore, Gamehost has an ROCE of 6.2%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Hospitality industry average of 8.0%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Gamehost 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 Does the ROCE Trend For Gamehost Tell Us?
We are a bit worried about the trend of returns on capital at Gamehost. To be more specific, the ROCE was 16% five years ago, but since then it has dropped noticeably. On top of that, it's worth noting that the amount of capital employed within the business has remained relatively steady. Since returns are falling and the business has the same amount of assets employed, this can suggest it's a mature business that hasn't had much growth in the last five years. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Gamehost to turn into a multi-bagger.
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. And long term shareholders have watched their investments stay flat over the last five years. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.
If you want to continue researching Gamehost, you might be interested to know about the 1 warning sign that our analysis has discovered.
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.
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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