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Cooper Companies (NYSE:COO) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Amongst other things, we'll want to see two things; firstly, a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an expansion in the company's amount 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. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Cooper Companies (NYSE:COO) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Cooper Companies is:

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

0.052 = US$557m ÷ (US$12b - US$916m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2023).

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So, Cooper Companies has an ROCE of 5.2%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Medical Equipment industry average of 9.9%.

See our latest analysis for Cooper Companies

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Cooper Companies compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

So How Is Cooper Companies' ROCE Trending?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Cooper Companies doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 5.2% from 8.0% five years ago. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

What We Can Learn From Cooper Companies' ROCE

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Cooper Companies is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. Furthermore the stock has climbed 64% over the last five years, it would appear that investors are upbeat about the future. So should these growth trends continue, we'd be optimistic on the stock going forward.

One more thing, we've spotted 2 warning signs facing Cooper Companies that you might find interesting.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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