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NuVasive's (NASDAQ:NUVA) Returns On Capital Not Reflecting Well On The Business

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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think NuVasive (NASDAQ:NUVA) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

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 NuVasive, this is the formula:

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

0.021 = US$41m ÷ (US$2.2b - US$225m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

Thus, NuVasive has an ROCE of 2.1%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Medical Equipment industry average of 8.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for NuVasive

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for NuVasive compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for NuVasive.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

When we looked at the ROCE trend at NuVasive, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 2.1% from 6.5% five years ago. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. 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.

Our Take On NuVasive's ROCE

In summary, NuVasive is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Unsurprisingly, the stock has only gained 3.1% over the last five years, which potentially indicates that investors are accounting for this going forward. Therefore, if you're looking for a multi-bagger, we'd propose looking at other options.

NuVasive does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for NuVasive that you might be interested in.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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 (at) simplywallst.com.