There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. However, after investigating Soitec (EPA:SOI), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.
What is 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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Soitec:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.068 = €90m ÷ (€1.6b - €236m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
Thus, Soitec has an ROCE of 6.8%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Semiconductor industry average of 8.2%.
In the above chart we have measured Soitec's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Soitec here for free.
How Are Returns Trending?
In terms of Soitec's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 6.8% from 13% five years ago. However it looks like Soitec might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.
On a side note, Soitec has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 15% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. Effectively this means their suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of the business, which reduces some elements of risk. Since the business is basically funding more of its operations with it's own money, you could argue this has made the business less efficient at generating ROCE.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, we've found that Soitec is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Yet to long term shareholders the stock has gifted them an incredible 1,125% return in the last five years, so the market appears to be rosy about its future. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.
On a final note, we've found 2 warning signs for Soitec that we think you should be aware of.
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.
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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