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Investors Met With Slowing Returns on Capital At Steel & Tube Holdings (NZSE:STU)

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There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. 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. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Steel & Tube Holdings (NZSE:STU) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

What Is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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 Steel & Tube Holdings, this is the formula:

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

0.11 = NZ$33m ÷ (NZ$377m - NZ$88m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

So, Steel & Tube Holdings has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Metals and Mining industry average of 9.1% it's much better.

Check out our latest analysis for Steel & Tube Holdings

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Steel & Tube Holdings 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 Steel & Tube Holdings here for free.

So How Is Steel & Tube Holdings' ROCE Trending?

Things have been pretty stable at Steel & Tube Holdings, with its capital employed and returns on that capital staying somewhat the same for the last five years. Businesses with these traits tend to be mature and steady operations because they're past the growth phase. So unless we see a substantial change at Steel & Tube Holdings in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger. On top of that you'll notice that Steel & Tube Holdings has been paying out a large portion (71%) of earnings in the form of dividends to shareholders. Most shareholders probably know this and own the stock for its dividend.

The Key Takeaway

In a nutshell, Steel & Tube Holdings has been trudging along with the same returns from the same amount of capital over the last five years. Since the stock has declined 20% over the last five years, investors may not be too optimistic on this trend improving either. In any case, the stock doesn't have these traits of a multi-bagger discussed above, so if that's what you're looking for, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.

Steel & Tube Holdings does come with some risks though, we found 2 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those shouldn't be ignored...

While Steel & Tube Holdings 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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