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GWA Group (ASX:GWA) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, from a first glance at GWA Group (ASX:GWA) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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. To calculate this metric for GWA Group, this is the formula:

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

0.12 = AU$70m ÷ (AU$680m - AU$106m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2023).

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Thus, GWA Group has an ROCE of 12%. That's a pretty standard return and it's in line with the industry average of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for GWA Group

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In the above chart we have measured GWA Group's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

In terms of GWA Group's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 12% from 16% five years ago. However it looks like GWA Group might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

Our Take On GWA Group's ROCE

In summary, GWA Group is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Additionally, the stock's total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat, which isn't too surprising. On the whole, we aren't too inspired by the underlying trends and we think there may be better chances of finding a multi-bagger elsewhere.

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

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.

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.