If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing 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. And in light of that, the trends we're seeing at Hallador Energy's (NASDAQ:HNRG) look very promising so lets take a look.
If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Hallador Energy is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.22 = US$91m ÷ (US$600m - US$178m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2023).
So, Hallador Energy has an ROCE of 22%. On its own, that's a very good return and it's on par with the returns earned by companies in a similar industry.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Hallador Energy 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.
Hallador Energy is showing promise given that its ROCE is trending up and to the right. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 394% in that same time. So it's likely that the business is now reaping the full benefits of its past investments, since the capital employed hasn't changed considerably. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.
On a side note, we noticed that the improvement in ROCE appears to be partly fueled by an increase in current liabilities. Essentially the business now has suppliers or short-term creditors funding about 30% of its operations, which isn't ideal. Keep an eye out for future increases because when the ratio of current liabilities to total assets gets particularly high, this can introduce some new risks for the business.
To bring it all together, Hallador Energy has done well to increase the returns it's generating from its capital employed. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. So given the stock has proven it has promising trends, it's worth researching the company further to see if these trends are likely to persist.
Hallador Energy does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Hallador Energy that you might be interested in.
High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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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.