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inTEST (NYSEMKT:INTT) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

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·3 min read
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Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Having said that, from a first glance at inTEST (NYSEMKT:INTT) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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 inTEST:

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

0.0084 = US$449k ÷ (US$62m - US$8.9m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Thus, inTEST has an ROCE of 0.8%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Semiconductor industry average of 9.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for inTEST

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In the above chart we have measured inTEST'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.

What Does the ROCE Trend For inTEST Tell Us?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at inTEST doesn't inspire confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 8.0%, but since then they've fallen to 0.8%. Given the business is employing more capital while revenue has slipped, this is a bit concerning. If this were to continue, you might be looking at a company that is trying to reinvest for growth but is actually losing market share since sales haven't increased.

In Conclusion...

From the above analysis, we find it rather worrisome that returns on capital and sales for inTEST have fallen, meanwhile the business is employing more capital than it was five years ago. The market must be rosy on the stock's future because even though the underlying trends aren't too encouraging, the stock has soared 165%. Regardless, we don't feel too comfortable with the fundamentals so we'd be steering clear of this stock for now.

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

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. 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 (at) simplywallst.com.