If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. 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 Flex (NASDAQ:FLEX) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.
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 Flex is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.12 = US$1.3b ÷ (US$21b - US$10b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).
Therefore, Flex has an ROCE of 12%. That's a relatively normal return on capital, and it's around the 13% generated by the Electronic industry.
Check out our latest analysis for Flex
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Flex 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.
So How Is Flex's ROCE Trending?
Flex is displaying some positive trends. The data shows that returns on capital have increased substantially over the last five years to 12%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 65% 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.
On a side note, Flex's current liabilities are still rather high at 48% of total assets. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.
What We Can Learn From Flex's ROCE
All in all, it's terrific to see that Flex is reaping the rewards from prior investments and is growing its capital base. And a remarkable 198% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. With that being said, we still think the promising fundamentals mean the company deserves some further due diligence.
On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for Flex you'll probably want to know about.
While Flex 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.
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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.