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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? 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. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. In light of that, when we looked at BorgWarner (NYSE:BWA) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
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 BorgWarner is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.079 = US$970m ÷ (US$16b - US$3.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
Thus, BorgWarner has an ROCE of 7.9%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Auto Components industry average of 9.3%.
In the above chart we have measured BorgWarner's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for BorgWarner.
The Trend Of ROCE
When we looked at the ROCE trend at BorgWarner, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 16%, but since then they've fallen to 7.9%. However it looks like BorgWarner might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.
In summary, BorgWarner is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Although the market must be expecting these trends to improve because the stock has gained 41% over the last five years. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.
If you'd like to know about the risks facing BorgWarner, we've discovered 5 warning signs that you should be aware of.
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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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