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Returns On Capital At Black Hills (NYSE:BKH) Have Hit The Brakes

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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. 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 Black Hills (NYSE:BKH) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

Understanding 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 Black Hills, this is the formula:

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

0.056 = US$418m ÷ (US$8.7b - US$1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, Black Hills has an ROCE of 5.6%. On its own, that's a low figure but it's around the 4.6% average generated by the Integrated Utilities industry.

View our latest analysis for Black Hills

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Black Hills compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Black Hills.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

The returns on capital haven't changed much for Black Hills in recent years. The company has consistently earned 5.6% for the last five years, and the capital employed within the business has risen 52% in that time. 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.

Our Take On Black Hills' ROCE

As we've seen above, Black Hills' returns on capital haven't increased but it is reinvesting in the business. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 21% to shareholders over the last five years. As a result, if you're hunting for a multi-bagger, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.

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

While Black Hills isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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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