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What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. So when we looked at Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) 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. The formula for this calculation on Korn Ferry is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.078 = US$180m ÷ (US$3.1b - US$750m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2021).
Therefore, Korn Ferry has an ROCE of 7.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Professional Services industry average of 11%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Korn Ferry 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.
How Are Returns Trending?
We're glad to see that ROCE is heading in the right direction, even if it is still low at the moment. The numbers show that in the last five years, the returns generated on capital employed have grown considerably to 7.8%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 62% 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.
To sum it up, Korn Ferry has proven it can reinvest in the business and generate higher returns on that capital employed, which is terrific. Since the stock has returned a staggering 208% to shareholders over the last five years, it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.
One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Korn Ferry and understanding it should be part of your investment process.
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. 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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