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Bunzl's (LON:BNZL) Returns Have Hit A Wall

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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base 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. With that in mind, the ROCE of Bunzl (LON:BNZL) looks decent, right now, so lets see what the trend of returns can tell us.

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. To calculate this metric for Bunzl, this is the formula:

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

0.15 = UK£645m ÷ (UK£7.1b - UK£2.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

Therefore, Bunzl has an ROCE of 15%. That's a relatively normal return on capital, and it's around the 14% generated by the Trade Distributors industry.

See our latest analysis for Bunzl

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In the above chart we have measured Bunzl'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 Bunzl.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Bunzl Tell Us?

The trend of ROCE doesn't stand out much, but returns on a whole are decent. Over the past five years, ROCE has remained relatively flat at around 15% and the business has deployed 51% more capital into its operations. 15% is a pretty standard return, and it provides some comfort knowing that Bunzl has consistently earned this amount. Over long periods of time, returns like these might not be too exciting, but with consistency they can pay off in terms of share price returns.

The Bottom Line

The main thing to remember is that Bunzl has proven its ability to continually reinvest at respectable rates of return. In light of this, the stock has only gained 23% over the last five years for shareholders who have owned the stock in this period. So because of the trends we're seeing, we'd recommend looking further into this stock to see if it has the makings of a multi-bagger.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Bunzl, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

While Bunzl 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.