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If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Orion Engineered Carbons (NYSE:OEC) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
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 Orion Engineered Carbons, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.14 = US$160m ÷ (US$1.5b - US$364m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
Therefore, Orion Engineered Carbons has an ROCE of 14%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Chemicals industry average of 11% it's much better.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Orion Engineered Carbons 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 The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Orion Engineered Carbons, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 18% over the last five years. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Orion Engineered Carbons. These trends are starting to be recognized by investors since the stock has delivered a 12% gain to shareholders who've held over the last five years. So this stock may still be an appealing investment opportunity, if other fundamentals prove to be sound.
Like most companies, Orion Engineered Carbons does come with some risks, and we've found 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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