What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Looking at MECOM Power and Construction (HKG:1183), it does have a high ROCE right now, but lets see how returns are trending.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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 MECOM Power and Construction is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities )
0.32 = MO$142m ÷ (MO$683m - MO$235m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Therefore, MECOM Power and Construction has an ROCE of 32%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 8.5% earned by companies in a similar industry.
View our latest analysis for MECOM Power and ConstructionSEHK:1183 Return on Capital Employed May 4th 2022
While the past is not representative of the future, it can be helpful to know how a company has performed historically, which is why we have this chart above. If you'd like to look at how MECOM Power and Construction has performed in the past in other metrics, you can view this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow .
How Are Returns Trending?
On the surface, the trend of ROCE at MECOM Power and Construction doesn't inspire confidence. While it's comforting that the ROCE is high, five years ago it was 50%. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.
On a side note, MECOM Power and Construction has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 34% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.
Our Take On MECOM Power and Construction's ROCE
Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for MECOM Power and Construction. And the stock has done incredibly well with a 350% return over the last three years, so long term investors are no doubt ecstatic with that result. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.
MECOM Power and Construction could be trading at an attractive price in other respects, so you might find our free intrinsic value estimation on our platform quite valuable.
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.