Returns On Capital At Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) Have Hit The Brakes

September 28, 2022
  •  Updated
November 24, 2022
NYSE:RL
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If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing 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. Having said that, from a first glance at Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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. To calculate this metric for Ralph Lauren, this is the formula:

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

0.15 = US$781m ÷ (US$7.0b - US$1.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2022).

So, Ralph Lauren has an ROCE of 15%. By itself that's a normal return on capital and it's in line with the industry's average returns of 15%.

See our latest analysis for Ralph Lauren

roce
NYSE:RL Return on Capital Employed September 28th 2022

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Ralph Lauren 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.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Ralph Lauren Tell Us?

Over the past five years, Ralph Lauren's ROCE and capital employed have both remained mostly flat. It's not uncommon to see this when looking at a mature and stable business that isn't re-investing its earnings because it has likely passed that phase of the business cycle. So unless we see a substantial change at Ralph Lauren in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger. With fewer investment opportunities, it makes sense that Ralph Lauren has been paying out a decent 36% of its earnings to shareholders. Unless businesses have highly compelling growth opportunities, they'll typically return some money to shareholders.

What We Can Learn From Ralph Lauren's ROCE

In summary, Ralph Lauren isn't compounding its earnings but is generating stable returns on the same amount of capital employed. And with the stock having returned a mere 5.8% in the last five years to shareholders, you could argue that they're aware of these lackluster trends. Therefore, if you're looking for a multi-bagger, we'd propose looking at other options.

One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Ralph Lauren and understanding it should be part of your investment process.

While Ralph Lauren 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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