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 the ROCE trend of Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) we really liked what we saw.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
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 Sonic Healthcare is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.20 = AU$2.1b ÷ (AU$12b - AU$2.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Thus, Sonic Healthcare has an ROCE of 20%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 6.2% earned by companies in a similar industry.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Sonic Healthcare 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 Sonic Healthcare here for free.
What Does the ROCE Trend For Sonic Healthcare Tell Us?
The trends we've noticed at Sonic Healthcare are quite reassuring. Over the last five years, returns on capital employed have risen substantially to 20%. Basically the business is earning more per dollar of capital invested and in addition to that, 66% 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.
Our Take On Sonic Healthcare's ROCE
To sum it up, Sonic Healthcare 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 solid 82% to shareholders over the last five years, it's fair to say investors are beginning to recognize these changes. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.
If you want to continue researching Sonic Healthcare, you might be interested to know about the 1 warning sign that our analysis has discovered.
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.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether Sonic Healthcare is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis