There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Lookers (LON:LOOK) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Lookers:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.19 = UK£125m ÷ (UK£1.5b - UK£863m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).
Thus, Lookers has an ROCE of 19%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Specialty Retail industry average of 13% it's much better.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Lookers 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 Lookers' ROCE Trending?
There hasn't been much to report for Lookers' returns and its level of capital employed because both metrics have been steady for the past five years. It's not uncommon to see this when looking at a mature and stable business that isn't re-investing its earnings because it has likely passed that phase of the business cycle. So unless we see a substantial change at Lookers in terms of ROCE and additional investments being made, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger.
One more thing to note, even though ROCE has remained relatively flat over the last five years, the reduction in current liabilities to 57% of total assets, is good to see from a business owner's perspective. Effectively suppliers now fund less of the business, which can lower some elements of risk. We'd like to see this trend continue though because as it stands today, thats still a pretty high level.
The Bottom Line
We can conclude that in regards to Lookers' returns on capital employed and the trends, there isn't much change to report on. And investors appear hesitant that the trends will pick up because the stock has fallen 14% in the last five years. In any case, the stock doesn't have these traits of a multi-bagger discussed above, so if that's what you're looking for, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.
If you want to know some of the risks facing Lookers we've found 2 warning signs (1 shouldn't be ignored!) 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.
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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here