Returns At Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) Are On The Way Up

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 15, 2021
NYSE:CAT
Source: Shutterstock

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? 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. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Caterpillar's (NYSE:CAT) returns on capital, so let's have a look.

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. The formula for this calculation on Caterpillar is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.13 = US$7.0b ÷ (US$81b - US$26b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

Thus, Caterpillar has an ROCE of 13%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 10% generated by the Machinery industry.

View our latest analysis for Caterpillar

roce
NYSE:CAT Return on Capital Employed November 16th 2021

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Caterpillar compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Caterpillar.

What Can We Tell From Caterpillar's ROCE Trend?

Caterpillar is showing promise given that its ROCE is trending up and to the right. The figures show that over the last five years, ROCE has grown 135% whilst employing roughly the same amount of capital. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. On that front, things are looking good so it's worth exploring what management has said about growth plans going forward.

In Conclusion...

In summary, we're delighted to see that Caterpillar has been able to increase efficiencies and earn higher rates of return on the same amount of capital. And a remarkable 155% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.

One more thing, we've spotted 2 warning signs facing Caterpillar that you might find interesting.

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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