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Investors Shouldn't Overlook A. O. Smith's (NYSE:AOS) Impressive Returns On Capital

To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? 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. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So when we looked at the ROCE trend of A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) we really liked what we saw.

What Is 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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for A. O. Smith:

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

0.33 = US$741m ÷ (US$3.2b - US$945m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

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Therefore, A. O. Smith has an ROCE of 33%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Building industry average of 16%.

Check out our latest analysis for A. O. Smith

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for A. O. Smith compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering A. O. Smith here for free.

How Are Returns Trending?

A. O. Smith has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 36% over the last five years. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.

The Bottom Line On A. O. Smith's ROCE

To bring it all together, A. O. Smith has done well to increase the returns it's generating from its capital employed. And with a respectable 65% awarded to those who held the stock over the last five years, you could argue that these developments are starting to get the attention they deserve. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.

Before jumping to any conclusions though, we need to know what value we're getting for the current share price. That's where you can check out our FREE intrinsic value estimation that compares the share price and estimated value.

High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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.