If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. 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 Yum China Holdings (NYSE:YUMC) 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?
Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Yum China Holdings, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.068 = US$734m ÷ (US$13b - US$2.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
So, Yum China Holdings has an ROCE of 6.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Hospitality industry average of 9.4%.
In the above chart we have measured Yum China Holdings' 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.
What Does the ROCE Trend For Yum China Holdings Tell Us?
In terms of Yum China Holdings' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 6.8% from 24% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.
The Bottom Line On Yum China Holdings' ROCE
In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Yum China Holdings is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. These trends are starting to be recognized by investors since the stock has delivered a 32% gain to shareholders who've held over the last five years. So this stock may still be an appealing investment opportunity, if other fundamentals prove to be sound.
On a separate note, we've found 2 warning signs for Yum China Holdings you'll probably want to know about.
While Yum China Holdings isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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.