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Returns On Capital Signal Tricky Times Ahead For NextGen Healthcare (NASDAQ:NXGN)

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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. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Having said that, from a first glance at NextGen Healthcare (NASDAQ:NXGN) 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 NextGen Healthcare, this is the formula:

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

0.038 = US$19m ÷ (US$656m - US$160m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

Thus, NextGen Healthcare has an ROCE of 3.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Healthcare Services industry average of 7.3%.

See our latest analysis for NextGen Healthcare

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In the above chart we have measured NextGen Healthcare's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering NextGen Healthcare here for free.

So How Is NextGen Healthcare's ROCE Trending?

In terms of NextGen Healthcare's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 3.8% from 15% five years ago. However it looks like NextGen Healthcare might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. 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 Bottom Line On NextGen Healthcare's ROCE

In summary, NextGen Healthcare is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 29% to shareholders over the last five years. So if you're looking for a multi-bagger, the underlying trends indicate you may have better chances elsewhere.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing NextGen Healthcare, we've discovered 3 warning signs that you should be aware of.

While NextGen Healthcare 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.

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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