If you're not sure where to start when looking for the next multi-bagger, there are a few key trends you should keep an eye out for. Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Proact IT Group (STO:PACT) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
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. The formula for this calculation on Proact IT Group is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.11 = kr168m ÷ (kr2.8b - kr1.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Therefore, Proact IT Group has an ROCE of 11%. In isolation, that's a pretty standard return but against the IT industry average of 17%, it's not as good.
In the above chart we have measured Proact IT 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 Does the ROCE Trend For Proact IT Group Tell Us?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Proact IT Group, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 11% from 27% five years ago. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.On a related note, Proact IT Group has decreased its current liabilities to 46% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. 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. Either way, they're still at a pretty high level, so we'd like to see them fall further if possible.
The Key Takeaway
In summary, Proact IT Group is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Since the stock has gained an impressive 80% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. But if the trajectory of these underlying trends continue, we think the likelihood of it being a multi-bagger from here isn't high.
While Proact IT Group doesn't shine too bright in this respect, it's still worth seeing if the company is trading at attractive prices. You can find that out with our FREE intrinsic value estimation on our platform.
If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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