U.S. Markets open in 38 mins
  • S&P Futures

    3,634.75
    +7.50 (+0.21%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    29,889.00
    +61.00 (+0.20%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    12,196.75
    +44.50 (+0.37%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    1,843.20
    -1.40 (-0.08%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    45.54
    -0.17 (-0.37%)
     
  • Gold

    1,809.40
    -1.80 (-0.10%)
     
  • Silver

    23.25
    -0.19 (-0.81%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1918
    +0.0004 (+0.0358%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.8780
    -0.0040 (-0.45%)
     
  • Vix

    21.42
    -0.22 (-1.02%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3317
    -0.0039 (-0.2943%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    104.1820
    -0.0680 (-0.0652%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    16,862.94
    -303.71 (-1.77%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    329.76
    -40.76 (-11.00%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,339.67
    -23.26 (-0.37%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,644.71
    +107.40 (+0.40%)
     

Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) Is Very Good At Capital Allocation

Simply Wall St
·3 min read

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding 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. So when we looked at the ROCE trend of Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) we really liked what we saw.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Motorola Solutions, this is the formula:

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

0.24 = US$1.6b ÷ (US$10b - US$3.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

So, Motorola Solutions has an ROCE of 24%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Communications industry average of 6.5%.

View our latest analysis for Motorola Solutions

roce
roce

In the above chart we have a measured Motorola Solutions' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Motorola Solutions Tell Us?

Motorola Solutions is showing promise given that its ROCE is trending up and to the right. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 60% over the last five years. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. It's worth looking deeper into this though because while it's great that the business is more efficient, it might also mean that going forward the areas to invest internally for the organic growth are lacking.

For the record though, there was a noticeable increase in the company's current liabilities over the period, so we would attribute some of the ROCE growth to that. The current liabilities has increased to 34% of total assets, so the business is now more funded by the likes of its suppliers or short-term creditors. Keep an eye out for future increases because when the ratio of current liabilities to total assets gets particularly high, this can introduce some new risks for the business.

Our Take On Motorola Solutions' ROCE

As discussed above, Motorola Solutions appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. And a remarkable 144% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.

On a final note, we've found 4 warning signs for Motorola Solutions 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.

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