What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, 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. With that in mind, we've noticed some promising trends at Deere (NYSE:DE) so let's look a bit deeper.
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 Deere:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.088 = US$4.5b ÷ (US$75b - US$23b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2020).
Therefore, Deere has an ROCE of 8.8%. In absolute terms, that's a low return but it's around the Machinery industry average of 10.0%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Deere 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.
The Trend Of ROCE
We're glad to see that ROCE is heading in the right direction, even if it is still low at the moment. Over the last five years, returns on capital employed have risen substantially to 8.8%. The company is effectively making more money per dollar of capital used, and it's worth noting that the amount of capital has increased too, by 38%. This can indicate that there's plenty of opportunities to invest capital internally and at ever higher rates, a combination that's common among multi-baggers.
The Key Takeaway
To sum it up, Deere has proven it can reinvest in the business and generate higher returns on that capital employed, which is terrific. Since the stock has returned a staggering 348% to shareholders over the last five years, it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. With that being said, we still think the promising fundamentals mean the company deserves some further due diligence.
If you'd like to know more about Deere, we've spotted 2 warning signs, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.
While Deere 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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