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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? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. So when we looked at Renewi (LON:RWI) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.
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. To calculate this metric for Renewi, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.07 = €97m ÷ (€2.0b - €616m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Therefore, Renewi has an ROCE of 7.0%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Commercial Services industry average of 10%.
In the above chart we have measured Renewi's 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 The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
Even though ROCE is still low in absolute terms, it's good to see it's heading in the right direction. The data shows that returns on capital have increased substantially over the last five years to 7.0%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 59% more capital is being employed now too. This can indicate that there's plenty of opportunities to invest capital internally and at ever higher rates, a combination that's common among multi-baggers.
The Key Takeaway
All in all, it's terrific to see that Renewi is reaping the rewards from prior investments and is growing its capital base. Given the stock has declined 28% in the last five years, this could be a good investment if the valuation and other metrics are also appealing. With that in mind, we believe the promising trends warrant this stock for further investigation.
One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Renewi and understanding it should be part of your investment process.
While Renewi isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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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