To avoid investing in a business that's in decline, there's a few financial metrics that can provide early indications of aging. More often than not, we'll see a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining amount of capital employed. This indicates the company is producing less profit from its investments and its total assets are decreasing. And from a first read, things don't look too good at Dycom Industries (NYSE:DY), so let's see why.
Understanding 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 Dycom Industries, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.093 = US$171m ÷ (US$2.3b - US$471m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2022).
Thus, Dycom Industries has an ROCE of 9.3%. Even though it's in line with the industry average of 8.7%, it's still a low return by itself.
View our latest analysis for Dycom Industries
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Dycom Industries 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 Dycom Industries.
What Can We Tell From Dycom Industries' ROCE Trend?
There is reason to be cautious about Dycom Industries, given the returns are trending downwards. Unfortunately the returns on capital have diminished from the 15% that they were earning five years ago. 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 Dycom Industries becoming one if things continue as they have.
In summary, it's unfortunate that Dycom Industries 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 16% depreciation in their investment, so it appears the market might not like these trends either. With underlying trends that aren't great in these areas, we'd consider looking elsewhere.
Dycom Industries does come with some risks though, we found 2 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is a bit unpleasant...
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.
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