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Haynes International, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HAYN) Investment Returns Are Lagging Its Industry

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Today we'll evaluate Haynes International, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAYN) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.'

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

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

Or for Haynes International:

0.016 = US$8.3m ÷ (US$588m - US$66m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Haynes International has an ROCE of 1.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for Haynes International

Does Haynes International Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Haynes International's ROCE is meaningfully below the Metals and Mining industry average of 9.1%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Putting aside Haynes International's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor - considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. It is likely that there are more attractive prospects out there.

Haynes International's current ROCE of 1.6% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 3.4% ROCE. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently.

NasdaqGS:HAYN Past Revenue and Net Income, May 8th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Remember that most companies like Haynes International are cyclical businesses. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Haynes International's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Haynes International has total assets of US$588m and current liabilities of US$66m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 11% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

Our Take On Haynes International's ROCE

Haynes International has a poor ROCE, and there may be better investment prospects out there. You might be able to find a better investment than Haynes International. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.