Investors Could Be Concerned With NuVasive's (NASDAQ:NUVA) Returns On Capital

Simply Wall St
May 11, 2022
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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think NuVasive (NASDAQ:NUVA) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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 NuVasive, this is the formula:

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

0.028 = US$54m ÷ (US$2.2b - US$249m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

So, NuVasive has an ROCE of 2.8%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Medical Equipment industry average of 8.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for NuVasive

NasdaqGS:NUVA Return on Capital Employed May 11th 2022

In the above chart we have measured NuVasive's 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 NuVasive.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at NuVasive doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 2.8% from 8.8% five years ago. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

Our Take On NuVasive's ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by NuVasive's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. And in the last five years, the stock has given away 31% so the market doesn't look too hopeful on these trends strengthening any time soon. 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 final note, we've found 1 warning sign for NuVasive that we think you should be aware of.

While NuVasive 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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