Returns On Capital At CarGurus (NASDAQ:CARG) Have Hit The Brakes

Published
August 01, 2022
NasdaqGS:CARG
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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. With that in mind, the ROCE of CarGurus (NASDAQ:CARG) looks decent, right now, so lets see what the trend of returns can tell us.

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. The formula for this calculation on CarGurus is:

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

0.19 = US$150m ÷ (US$946m - US$149m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

Therefore, CarGurus has an ROCE of 19%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Interactive Media and Services industry average of 4.4% it's much better.

View our latest analysis for CarGurus

roce
NasdaqGS:CARG Return on Capital Employed August 1st 2022

In the above chart we have measured CarGurus' 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 CarGurus.

So How Is CarGurus' ROCE Trending?

While the returns on capital are good, they haven't moved much. The company has employed 955% more capital in the last five years, and the returns on that capital have remained stable at 19%. 19% is a pretty standard return, and it provides some comfort knowing that CarGurus has consistently earned this amount. Stable returns in this ballpark can be unexciting, but if they can be maintained over the long run, they often provide nice rewards to shareholders.

On a side note, CarGurus has done well to reduce current liabilities to 16% of total assets over the last five years. Effectively suppliers now fund less of the business, which can lower some elements of risk.

The Key Takeaway

The main thing to remember is that CarGurus has proven its ability to continually reinvest at respectable rates of return. However, despite the favorable fundamentals, the stock has fallen 33% over the last three years, so there might be an opportunity here for astute investors. That's why we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the fundamentals are appealing.

CarGurus 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.

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