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Capital Investments At Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) Point To A Promising Future

·3 min read

If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. That's why when we briefly looked at Lithia Motors' (NYSE:LAD) ROCE trend, we were very happy with what we saw.

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. To calculate this metric for Lithia Motors, this is the formula:

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

0.20 = US$2.0b ÷ (US$13b - US$2.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

Therefore, Lithia Motors has an ROCE of 20%. On its own, that's a very good return and it's on par with the returns earned by companies in a similar industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Lithia Motors

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Lithia Motors compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Lithia Motors here for free.

What Can We Tell From Lithia Motors' ROCE Trend?

Lithia Motors deserves to be commended in regards to it's returns. Over the past five years, ROCE has remained relatively flat at around 20% and the business has deployed 414% more capital into its operations. With returns that high, it's great that the business can continually reinvest its money at such appealing rates of return. If Lithia Motors can keep this up, we'd be very optimistic about its future.

One more thing to note, even though ROCE has remained relatively flat over the last five years, the reduction in current liabilities to 20% of total assets, is good to see from a business owner's perspective. This can eliminate some of the risks inherent in the operations because the business has less outstanding obligations to their suppliers and or short-term creditors than they did previously.

Our Take On Lithia Motors' ROCE

Lithia Motors has demonstrated its proficiency by generating high returns on increasing amounts of capital employed, which we're thrilled about. On top of that, the stock has rewarded shareholders with a remarkable 166% return to those who've held over the last five years. So while the positive underlying trends may be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.

On a final note, we found 2 warning signs for Lithia Motors (1 is a bit unpleasant) you should be aware of.

If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high returns on equity.

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.

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