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McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) Knows How To Allocate Capital

If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. 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 ran our eye over McDonald's' (NYSE:MCD) trend of ROCE, 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. To calculate this metric for McDonald's, this is the formula:

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

0.24 = US$12b ÷ (US$56b - US$6.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

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So, McDonald's has an ROCE of 24%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Hospitality industry average of 9.6%.

View our latest analysis for McDonald's

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for McDonald's 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 McDonald's .

So How Is McDonald's' ROCE Trending?

We'd be pretty happy with returns on capital like McDonald's. The company has consistently earned 24% for the last five years, and the capital employed within the business has risen 65% in that time. Returns like this are the envy of most businesses and given it has repeatedly reinvested at these rates, that's even better. If these trends can continue, it wouldn't surprise us if the company became a multi-bagger.

The Bottom Line

In short, we'd argue McDonald's has the makings of a multi-bagger since its been able to compound its capital at very profitable rates of return. Therefore it's no surprise that shareholders have earned a respectable 54% return if they held over the last five years. So while the positive underlying trends may be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.

One more thing to note, we've identified 2 warning signs with McDonald's and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high 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.