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Comfort Systems USA (NYSE:FIX) Is Aiming To Keep Up Its Impressive Returns

What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. Ergo, when we looked at the ROCE trends at Comfort Systems USA (NYSE:FIX), we 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. To calculate this metric for Comfort Systems USA, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.28 = US$488m ÷ (US$3.9b - US$2.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

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Therefore, Comfort Systems USA has an ROCE of 28%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Construction industry average of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Comfort Systems USA

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Comfort Systems USA 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 analyst report for Comfort Systems USA .

What Does the ROCE Trend For Comfort Systems USA Tell Us?

We'd be pretty happy with returns on capital like Comfort Systems USA. The company has employed 163% more capital in the last five years, and the returns on that capital have remained stable at 28%. With returns that high, it's great that the business can continually reinvest its money at such appealing rates of return. If Comfort Systems USA can keep this up, we'd be very optimistic about its future.

Another point to note, we noticed the company has increased current liabilities over the last five years. This is intriguing because if current liabilities hadn't increased to 55% of total assets, this reported ROCE would probably be less than28% because total capital employed would be higher.The 28% ROCE could be even lower if current liabilities weren't 55% of total assets, because the the formula would show a larger base of total capital employed. So with current liabilities at such high levels, this effectively means the likes of suppliers or short-term creditors are funding a meaningful part of the business, which in some instances can bring some risks.

The Bottom Line

In the end, the company has proven it can reinvest it's capital at high rates of returns, which you'll remember is a trait of a multi-bagger. On top of that, the stock has rewarded shareholders with a remarkable 543% return to those who've held over the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we still believe the stock deserves further research.

If you want to continue researching Comfort Systems USA, you might be interested to know about the 1 warning sign that our analysis has discovered.

Comfort Systems USA is not the only stock earning high returns. If you'd like to see more, check out our free list of companies earning high returns on equity with solid fundamentals.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.