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. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount 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. Although, when we looked at Lear (NYSE:LEA), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Lear:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.076 = US$655m ÷ (US$14b - US$5.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2022).
Therefore, Lear has an ROCE of 7.6%. On its own, that's a low figure but it's around the 8.7% average generated by the Auto Components industry.
In the above chart we have measured Lear'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.
How Are Returns Trending?
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Lear, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 7.6% from 25% 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.
Our Take On Lear's ROCE
To conclude, we've found that Lear is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 1.0% to shareholders over the last five years. Therefore, if you're looking for a multi-bagger, we'd propose looking at other options.
Like most companies, Lear does come with some risks, and we've found 3 warning signs that you should be aware of.
While Lear may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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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.