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Investors Met With Slowing Returns on Capital At Global Water Resources (NASDAQ:GWRS)

To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? 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. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Although, when we looked at Global Water Resources (NASDAQ:GWRS), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

What Is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Global Water Resources:

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

0.026 = US$7.9m ÷ (US$325m - US$20m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

Thus, Global Water Resources has an ROCE of 2.6%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Water Utilities industry average of 4.5%.

View our latest analysis for Global Water Resources

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In the above chart we have measured Global Water Resources' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Global Water Resources.

How Are Returns Trending?

The returns on capital haven't changed much for Global Water Resources in recent years. The company has employed 34% more capital in the last five years, and the returns on that capital have remained stable at 2.6%. 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

Long story short, while Global Water Resources has been reinvesting its capital, the returns that it's generating haven't increased. Since the stock has gained an impressive 44% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. But if the trajectory of these underlying trends continue, we think the likelihood of it being a multi-bagger from here isn't high.

Global Water Resources does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit concerning) we think you should know about.

While Global Water Resources may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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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