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Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) Is Looking To Continue Growing Its Returns On Capital

·3 min read

There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. So when we looked at Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.

What Is 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 Whitehaven Coal:

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

0.13 = AU$551m ÷ (AU$4.5b - AU$351m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

Thus, Whitehaven Coal has an ROCE of 13%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Oil and Gas industry average of 12%.

View our latest analysis for Whitehaven Coal

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In the above chart we have measured Whitehaven Coal's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Whitehaven Coal here for free.

The Trend Of ROCE

Whitehaven Coal has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 68% in that same time. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.

In Conclusion...

To sum it up, Whitehaven Coal is collecting higher returns from the same amount of capital, and that's impressive. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. In light of that, we think it's worth looking further into this stock because if Whitehaven Coal can keep these trends up, it could have a bright future ahead.

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

While Whitehaven Coal 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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