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Frontline's (NYSE:FRO) Returns On Capital Are Heading Higher

Finding a business that has the potential to grow substantially is not easy, but it is possible if we look at a few key financial metrics. One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. So when we looked at Frontline (NYSE:FRO) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.

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. To calculate this metric for Frontline, this is the formula:

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

0.099 = US$433m ÷ (US$4.8b - US$392m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

Therefore, Frontline has an ROCE of 9.9%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Oil and Gas industry average of 21%.

Check out our latest analysis for Frontline

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Frontline 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 Frontline.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Frontline Tell Us?

Even though ROCE is still low in absolute terms, it's good to see it's heading in the right direction. The data shows that returns on capital have increased substantially over the last five years to 9.9%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 51% 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.

What We Can Learn From Frontline's ROCE

To sum it up, Frontline 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 351% 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.

Frontline does come with some risks though, we found 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 2 of those make us uncomfortable...

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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.

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