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Polaris (NYSE:PII) May Have Issues Allocating Its Capital

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If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? 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. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So while Polaris (NYSE:PII) has a high ROCE right now, lets see what we can decipher from how returns are changing.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Polaris is:

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

0.29 = US$770m ÷ (US$4.5b - US$1.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

Thus, Polaris has an ROCE of 29%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Leisure industry average of 20%.

See our latest analysis for Polaris

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Polaris 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 Can We Tell From Polaris' ROCE Trend?

In terms of Polaris' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Historically returns on capital were even higher at 41%, but they have dropped over the last five years. 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.

Another thing to note, Polaris has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 41%. 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 Polaris' ROCE

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Polaris. Furthermore the stock has climbed 59% over the last five years, it would appear that investors are upbeat about the future. So should these growth trends continue, we'd be optimistic on the stock going forward.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Polaris, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high 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.