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Here's What's Concerning About Gravitas Education Holdings' (NYSE:GEHI) Returns On Capital

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. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount 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. However, after investigating Gravitas Education Holdings (NYSE:GEHI), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.

What Is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for Gravitas Education Holdings, this is the formula:

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

0.023 = US$2.9m ÷ (US$155m - US$33m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

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Thus, Gravitas Education Holdings has an ROCE of 2.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Consumer Services industry average of 6.2%.

Check out our latest analysis for Gravitas Education Holdings

roce
roce

While the past is not representative of the future, it can be helpful to know how a company has performed historically, which is why we have this chart above. If you'd like to look at how Gravitas Education Holdings has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

The Trend Of ROCE

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Gravitas Education Holdings, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 2.3% from 23% five years ago. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

On a related note, Gravitas Education Holdings has decreased its current liabilities to 21% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

Our Take On Gravitas Education Holdings' ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Gravitas Education Holdings' reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. It seems that investors have little hope of these trends getting any better and that may have partly contributed to the stock collapsing 96% in the last five years. 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.

If you'd like to know more about Gravitas Education Holdings, we've spotted 4 warning signs, and 1 of them is significant.

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.

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