What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base 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. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Visa's (NYSE:V) returns on capital, so let's have a look.
Understanding 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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Visa:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.27 = US$17b ÷ (US$82b - US$19b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
Thus, Visa has an ROCE of 27%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the IT industry average of 14%.
In the above chart we have measured Visa'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.
What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us
Visa has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 32% in that same time. So it's likely that the business is now reaping the full benefits of its past investments, since the capital employed hasn't changed considerably. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.
As discussed above, Visa appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. And with the stock having performed exceptionally well over the last five years, these patterns are being accounted for by investors. With that being said, we still think the promising fundamentals mean the company deserves some further due diligence.
On a separate note, we've found 1 warning sign for Visa you'll probably want to know about.
High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks 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.