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. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Jiangsu Expressway (HKG:177) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Jiangsu Expressway:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.10 = CN¥5.4b ÷ (CN¥68b - CN¥15b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Therefore, Jiangsu Expressway has an ROCE of 10%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Infrastructure industry average of 8.3% it's much better.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Jiangsu Expressway compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
What Can We Tell From Jiangsu Expressway's ROCE Trend?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Jiangsu Expressway, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 15% over the last five years. 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. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
What We Can Learn From Jiangsu Expressway's ROCE
In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Jiangsu Expressway is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. These trends don't appear to have influenced returns though, because the total return from the stock has been mostly flat over the last five years. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.
If you want to know some of the risks facing Jiangsu Expressway we've found 2 warning signs (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
While Jiangsu Expressway isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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.