- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? 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. Although, when we looked at i3 Verticals (NASDAQ:IIIV), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. To calculate this metric for i3 Verticals, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.025 = US$16m ÷ (US$773m - US$123m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
So, i3 Verticals has an ROCE of 2.5%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the IT industry average of 12%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for i3 Verticals compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
When we looked at the ROCE trend at i3 Verticals, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 7.6%, but since then they've fallen to 2.5%. 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. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that i3 Verticals is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. These growth trends haven't led to growth returns though, since the stock has fallen 16% over the last three years. As a result, we'd recommend researching this stock further to uncover what other fundamentals of the business can show us.
Like most companies, i3 Verticals does come with some risks, and we've found 1 warning sign that you should be aware of.
While i3 Verticals isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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.