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Why The 32% Return On Capital At BHP Group (ASX:BHP) Should Have Your Attention

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·3-min read
In this article:
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If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount 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. So when we looked at the ROCE trend of BHP Group (ASX:BHP) 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. The formula for this calculation on BHP Group is:

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

0.32 = US$30b ÷ (US$109b - US$16b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Thus, BHP Group has an ROCE of 32%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Metals and Mining industry average of 9.8%.

View our latest analysis for BHP Group

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In the above chart we have measured BHP Group's 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.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

BHP Group is showing promise given that its ROCE is trending up and to the right. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 619% in that same time. So it's likely that the business is now reaping the full benefits of its past investments, since the capital employed hasn't changed considerably. It's worth looking deeper into this though because while it's great that the business is more efficient, it might also mean that going forward the areas to invest internally for the organic growth are lacking.

In Conclusion...

As discussed above, BHP Group appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. And a remarkable 138% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. 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.

BHP Group does come with some risks though, we found 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is concerning...

BHP Group 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.

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.

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

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