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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? One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Visa's (NYSE:V) returns on capital, so let's have a look.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Visa is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.27 = US$17b ÷ (US$82b - US$19b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Thus, Visa has an ROCE of 27%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the IT industry average of 13%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Visa 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 Does the ROCE Trend For Visa Tell Us?
Visa's ROCE growth is quite impressive. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 32% over the last five years. Basically the business is generating higher returns from the same amount of capital and that is proof that there are improvements in the company's efficiencies. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.
As discussed above, Visa appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. In light of that, we think it's worth looking further into this stock because if Visa can keep these trends up, it could have a bright future ahead.
On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for Visa you'll probably want to know about.
If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high returns on equity.
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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.