To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Dongfang Electric's (HKG:1072) 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 Dongfang Electric is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.031 = CN¥1.6b ÷ (CN¥127b - CN¥77b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).
So, Dongfang Electric has an ROCE of 3.1%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Electrical industry average of 5.6%.
See our latest analysis for Dongfang Electric
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Dongfang Electric compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Dongfang Electric.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
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 3.1%. The amount of capital employed has increased too, by 47%. So we're very much inspired by what we're seeing at Dongfang Electric thanks to its ability to profitably reinvest capital.
On a side note, Dongfang Electric's current liabilities are still rather high at 61% 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.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, Dongfang Electric has proven it can reinvest in the business and generate higher returns on that capital employed, which is terrific. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. 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.
On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for Dongfang Electric you'll probably want to know about.
While Dongfang Electric 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.