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Clorox (NYSE:CLX) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

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. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, from a first glance at Clorox (NYSE:CLX) 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)

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Clorox:

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

0.16 = US$654m ÷ (US$6.2b - US$2.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

Therefore, Clorox has an ROCE of 16%. That's a relatively normal return on capital, and it's around the 14% generated by the Household Products industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Clorox


In the above chart we have measured Clorox's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Clorox here for free.

The Trend Of ROCE

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Clorox, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 16% from 35% five years ago. However it looks like Clorox 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's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.

In Conclusion...

To conclude, we've found that Clorox is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. And with the stock having returned a mere 22% in the last five years to shareholders, you could argue that they're aware of these lackluster trends. So if you're looking for a multi-bagger, the underlying trends indicate you may have better chances elsewhere.

On a separate note, we've found 2 warning signs for Clorox you'll probably want to know about.

While Clorox 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.

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