If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount 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. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Steel Dynamics' (NASDAQ:STLD) returns on capital, so let's have a look.
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 Steel Dynamics is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.48 = US$5.8b ÷ (US$14b - US$2.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
Therefore, Steel Dynamics has an ROCE of 48%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 18% earned by companies in a similar industry.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Steel Dynamics 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 Steel Dynamics here for free.
So How Is Steel Dynamics' ROCE Trending?
Investors would be pleased with what's happening at Steel Dynamics. The numbers show that in the last five years, the returns generated on capital employed have grown considerably to 48%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 102% 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.
The Bottom Line On Steel Dynamics' ROCE
To sum it up, Steel Dynamics 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 204% to shareholders over the last five years, it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. So given the stock has proven it has promising trends, it's worth researching the company further to see if these trends are likely to persist.
One final note, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Steel Dynamics (including 1 which shouldn't be ignored) .
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.
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