What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? 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. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. So when we looked at Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ:WERN) and its trend of ROCE, we really liked what we saw.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Werner Enterprises:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.11 = US$257m ÷ (US$2.8b - US$471m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
So, Werner Enterprises has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty standard return but compared to the Transportation industry average it falls behind.
In the above chart we have measured Werner Enterprises' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
The Trend Of ROCE
Investors would be pleased with what's happening at Werner Enterprises. Over the last five years, returns on capital employed have risen substantially to 11%. The company is effectively making more money per dollar of capital used, and it's worth noting that the amount of capital has increased too, by 55%. 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 Werner Enterprises' ROCE
In summary, it's great to see that Werner Enterprises can compound returns by consistently reinvesting capital at increasing rates of return, because these are some of the key ingredients of those highly sought after multi-baggers. Investors may not be impressed by the favorable underlying trends yet because over the last five years the stock has only returned 38% to shareholders. Given that, we'd look further into this stock in case it has more traits that could make it multiply in the long term.
Werner Enterprises does have some risks, we noticed 2 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit concerning) we think you should know about.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and 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.
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