Investors Could Be Concerned With Ameren's (NYSE:AEE) Returns On Capital

·2 min read

If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Ameren (NYSE:AEE) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

Understanding 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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Ameren:

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

0.045 = US$1.5b ÷ (US$36b - US$2.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

Thus, Ameren has an ROCE of 4.5%. On its own, that's a low figure but it's around the 4.6% average generated by the Integrated Utilities industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Ameren

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In the above chart we have measured Ameren'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.

So How Is Ameren's ROCE Trending?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Ameren, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 6.3%, but since then they've fallen to 4.5%. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

The Bottom Line On Ameren's ROCE

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Ameren. And the stock has done incredibly well with a 103% return over the last five years, so long term investors are no doubt ecstatic with that result. So while the underlying trends could already be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.

Ameren does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think you should know about.

While Ameren may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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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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