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Spire Healthcare Group (LON:SPI) May Have Issues Allocating Its Capital

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·3 min read
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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. This indicates the company is producing less profit from its investments and its total assets are decreasing. So after glancing at the trends within Spire Healthcare Group (LON:SPI), we weren't too hopeful.

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. The formula for this calculation on Spire Healthcare Group is:

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

0.036 = UK£67m ÷ (UK£2.1b - UK£254m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

So, Spire Healthcare Group has an ROCE of 3.6%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Healthcare industry average of 9.0%.

View our latest analysis for Spire Healthcare Group

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Spire Healthcare Group 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 Can We Tell From Spire Healthcare Group's ROCE Trend?

In terms of Spire Healthcare Group's historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, the ROCE was 7.1% five years ago, but since then it has dropped noticeably. 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. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Spire Healthcare Group becoming one if things continue as they have.

The Bottom Line On Spire Healthcare Group's ROCE

All in all, the lower returns from the same amount of capital employed aren't exactly signs of a compounding machine. Investors haven't taken kindly to these developments, since the stock has declined 37% from where it was five years ago. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Spire Healthcare Group, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should be aware of.

While Spire Healthcare Group 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. 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.