To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. With that in mind, the ROCE of Packaging Corporation of America (NYSE:PKG) looks decent, right now, so lets see what the trend of returns can tell us.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Packaging Corporation of America:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.16 = US$1.1b ÷ (US$8.6b - US$1.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
Thus, Packaging Corporation of America has an ROCE of 16%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Packaging industry average of 10% it's much better.
In the above chart we have measured Packaging Corporation of America's 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.
How Are Returns Trending?
While the current returns on capital are decent, they haven't changed much. Over the past five years, ROCE has remained relatively flat at around 16% and the business has deployed 37% more capital into its operations. Since 16% is a moderate ROCE though, it's good to see a business can continue to reinvest at these decent rates of return. Over long periods of time, returns like these might not be too exciting, but with consistency they can pay off in terms of share price returns.
The Bottom Line
The main thing to remember is that Packaging Corporation of America has proven its ability to continually reinvest at respectable rates of return. And since the stock has risen strongly over the last five years, it appears the market might expect this trend to continue. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we still believe the stock deserves further research.
Packaging Corporation of America could be trading at an attractive price in other respects, so you might find our free intrinsic value estimation on our platform quite valuable.
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.
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.