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Why We Like The Returns At Western Forest Products (TSE:WEF)

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·3 min read
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If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. With that in mind, the ROCE of Western Forest Products (TSE:WEF) looks great, so lets see what the trend can tell us.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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 Western Forest Products:

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

0.30 = CA$227m ÷ (CA$939m - CA$173m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

So, Western Forest Products has an ROCE of 30%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Forestry industry average of 24%.

View our latest analysis for Western Forest Products

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Western Forest Products 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.

How Are Returns Trending?

Western Forest Products' ROCE growth is quite impressive. The figures show that over the last five years, ROCE has grown 102% whilst employing roughly the same amount of capital. 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. On that front, things are looking good so it's worth exploring what management has said about growth plans going forward.

The Key Takeaway

As discussed above, Western Forest Products appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. Since the stock has only returned 26% to shareholders over the last five years, the promising fundamentals may not be recognized yet by investors. So exploring more about this stock could uncover a good opportunity, if the valuation and other metrics stack up.

Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Western Forest Products (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should know about.

If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high returns on equity.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.