To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Although, when we looked at Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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. The formula for this calculation on Consolidated Edison is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.048 = US$2.5b ÷ (US$60b - US$7.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
Therefore, Consolidated Edison has an ROCE of 4.8%. Even though it's in line with the industry average of 4.8%, it's still a low return by itself.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Consolidated Edison compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Consolidated Edison here for free.
The Trend Of ROCE
In terms of Consolidated Edison's historical ROCE trend, it doesn't exactly demand attention. Over the past five years, ROCE has remained relatively flat at around 4.8% and the business has deployed 29% more capital into its operations. Given the company has increased the amount of capital employed, it appears the investments that have been made simply don't provide a high return on capital.
The Bottom Line
Long story short, while Consolidated Edison has been reinvesting its capital, the returns that it's generating haven't increased. And investors may be recognizing these trends since the stock has only returned a total of 23% to shareholders over the last five years. Therefore, if you're looking for a multi-bagger, we'd propose looking at other options.
If you want to know some of the risks facing Consolidated Edison we've found 2 warning signs (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.
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