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Is Lindsay (NYSE:LNN) Shrinking?

Simply Wall St
·3 mins read

When researching a stock for investment, what can tell us that the company is in decline? More often than not, we'll see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining amount of capital employed. Ultimately this means that the company is earning less per dollar invested and on top of that, it's shrinking its base of capital employed. On that note, looking into Lindsay (NYSE:LNN), we weren't too upbeat about how things were going.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Lindsay:

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

0.091 = US$41m ÷ (US$557m - US$107m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2020).

Thus, Lindsay has an ROCE of 9.1%. Even though it's in line with the industry average of 9.1%, it's still a low return by itself.

View our latest analysis for Lindsay

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Lindsay 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 Lindsay Tell Us?

In terms of Lindsay's historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 14% that they were earning five years ago. On top of that, it's worth noting that the amount of capital employed within the business has remained relatively steady. Companies that exhibit these attributes tend to not be shrinking, but they can be mature and facing pressure on their margins from competition. If these trends continue, we wouldn't expect Lindsay to turn into a multi-bagger.

Our Take On Lindsay's ROCE

All in all, the lower returns from the same amount of capital employed aren't exactly signs of a compounding machine. However the stock has delivered a 44% return to shareholders over the last five years, so investors might be expecting the trends to turn around. In any case, the current underlying trends don't bode well for long term performance so unless they reverse, we'd start looking elsewhere.

One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Lindsay and understanding it should be part of your investment process.

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@simplywallst.com.