Should You Be Impressed By Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG.L) Returns on Capital?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 24, 2021

If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. So, when we ran our eye over Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG.L) trend of ROCE, we liked what we saw.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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 Alphabet, this is the formula:

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

0.14 = US$35b ÷ (US$299b - US$48b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

Thus, Alphabet has an ROCE of 14%. In absolute terms, that's a pretty normal return, and it's somewhat close to the Interactive Media and Services industry average of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Alphabet

NasdaqGS:GOOG.L Return on Capital Employed January 24th 2021

In the above chart we have measured Alphabet'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 Alphabet.

The Trend Of ROCE

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 14% and the business has deployed 99% more capital into its operations. 14% is a pretty standard return, and it provides some comfort knowing that Alphabet has consistently earned this amount. 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

To sum it up, Alphabet has simply been reinvesting capital steadily, at those decent rates of return. On top of that, the stock has rewarded shareholders with a remarkable 149% return to those who've held over the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we still believe the stock deserves further research.

While Alphabet doesn't shine too bright in this respect, it's still worth seeing if the company is trading at attractive prices. You can find that out with our FREE intrinsic value estimation on our platform.

While Alphabet isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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