Ignoring the stock price of a company, what are the underlying trends that tell us a business is past the growth phase? Typically, we'll see the trend of both return on capital employed (ROCE) declining and this usually coincides with a decreasing 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 Titon Holdings (LON:TON), we weren't too hopeful.
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 Titon Holdings, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.018 = UK£293k ÷ (UK£21m - UK£4.2m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
So, Titon Holdings has an ROCE of 1.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Building industry average of 14%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Titon Holdings compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Titon Holdings.
What Can We Tell From Titon Holdings' ROCE Trend?
There is reason to be cautious about Titon Holdings, given the returns are trending downwards. About five years ago, returns on capital were 13%, however they're now substantially lower than that as we saw above. On top of that, it's worth noting that the amount of capital employed within the business has remained relatively steady. This combination can be indicative of a mature business that still has areas to deploy capital, but the returns received aren't as high due potentially to new competition or smaller margins. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Titon Holdings becoming one if things continue as they have.
In summary, it's unfortunate that Titon Holdings is generating lower returns from the same amount of capital. Long term shareholders who've owned the stock over the last five years have experienced a 36% depreciation in their investment, so it appears the market might not like these trends either. Unless there is a shift to a more positive trajectory in these metrics, we would look elsewhere.
On a final note, we found 3 warning signs for Titon Holdings (1 is a bit concerning) you should be aware of.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.
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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.