Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential 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. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Universal Electronics (NASDAQ:UEIC) 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?
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 Universal Electronics:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.11 = US$32m ÷ (US$526m - US$222m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).
So, Universal Electronics has an ROCE of 11%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Consumer Durables industry average of 13%.
In the above chart we have measured Universal Electronics' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Universal Electronics.
How Are Returns Trending?
Things have been pretty stable at Universal Electronics, with its capital employed and returns on that capital staying somewhat the same for the last five years. Businesses with these traits tend to be mature and steady operations because they're past the growth phase. So unless we see a substantial change at Universal Electronics in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger.Another thing to note, Universal Electronics has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 42%. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. Ideally we'd like to see this reduce as that would mean fewer obligations bearing risks.
What We Can Learn From Universal Electronics' ROCE
In a nutshell, Universal Electronics has been trudging along with the same returns from the same amount of capital over the last five years. Additionally, the stock's total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat, which isn't too surprising. On the whole, we aren't too inspired by the underlying trends and we think there may be better chances of finding a multi-bagger elsewhere.
On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for Universal Electronics you'll probably want to know about.
For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.
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