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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base 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. Although, when we looked at Church & Dwight (NYSE:CHD), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Church & Dwight:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.16 = US$978m ÷ (US$7.9b - US$1.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
So, Church & Dwight has an ROCE of 16%. That's a pretty standard return and it's in line with the industry average of 16%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Church & Dwight compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Church & Dwight here for free.
How Are Returns Trending?
In terms of Church & Dwight's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 22% over the last five years. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. 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.
The Key Takeaway
To conclude, we've found that Church & Dwight is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Since the stock has gained an impressive 78% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.
One more thing, we've spotted 1 warning sign facing Church & Dwight that you might find interesting.
While Church & Dwight may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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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.