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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. And in light of that, the trends we're seeing at Lowe's Companies' (NYSE:LOW) look very promising so lets take a look.
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 Lowe's Companies, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.43 = US$12b ÷ (US$51b - US$23b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2021).
Therefore, Lowe's Companies has an ROCE of 43%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Specialty Retail industry average of 15%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Lowe's Companies 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.
The Trend Of ROCE
Lowe's Companies is displaying some positive trends. The data shows that returns on capital have increased substantially over the last five years to 43%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 23% more capital is being employed now too. The increasing returns on a growing amount of capital is common amongst multi-baggers and that's why we're impressed.
On a separate but related note, it's important to know that Lowe's Companies has a current liabilities to total assets ratio of 45%, which we'd consider pretty high. This effectively means that suppliers (or short-term creditors) are funding a large portion of the business, so just be aware that this can introduce some elements of risk. While it's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial if this ratio is lower.
Our Take On Lowe's Companies' ROCE
In summary, it's great to see that Lowe's Companies can compound returns by consistently reinvesting capital at increasing rates of return, because these are some of the key ingredients of those highly sought after multi-baggers. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. With that being said, we still think the promising fundamentals mean the company deserves some further due diligence.
On a final note, we've found 2 warning signs for Lowe's Companies that we think you should be aware of.
If you'd like to see other companies earning high returns, check out our free list of companies earning high returns with solid balance sheets here.
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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