To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base 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. Having said that, while the ROCE is currently high for NEXT (LON:NXT), we aren't jumping out of our chairs because returns are decreasing.
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 NEXT is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.32 = UK£901m ÷ (UK£4.0b - UK£1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2022).
So, NEXT has an ROCE of 32%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 16% earned by companies in a similar industry.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for NEXT 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 NEXT here for free.
How Are Returns Trending?
In terms of NEXT's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, while the ROCE is still high, it's fallen from 49% where it was five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.
The Key Takeaway
While returns have fallen for NEXT in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. And the stock has followed suit returning a meaningful 73% to shareholders over the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.
On a separate note, we've found 2 warning signs for NEXT you'll probably want to know about.
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.
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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.