If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. 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. However, after investigating Mercury Systems (NASDAQ:MRCY), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. The formula for this calculation on Mercury Systems is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.033 = US$70m ÷ (US$2.3b - US$194m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2022).
Therefore, Mercury Systems has an ROCE of 3.3%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Aerospace & Defense industry average of 8.8%.
In the above chart we have measured Mercury Systems' 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 Mercury Systems.
What Can We Tell From Mercury Systems' ROCE Trend?
On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Mercury Systems doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 3.3% from 6.1% five years ago. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.
The Bottom Line On Mercury Systems' ROCE
Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Mercury Systems' reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Additionally, the stock's total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat, which isn't too surprising. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Mercury Systems has the makings of a multi-bagger.
One more thing, we've spotted 4 warning signs facing Mercury Systems 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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