Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So when we looked at the ROCE trend of APA (NASDAQ:APA) we really liked what we saw.
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. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for APA:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.33 = US$3.6b ÷ (US$14b - US$2.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).
So, APA has an ROCE of 33%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 17% earned by companies in a similar industry.
In the above chart we have measured APA'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 Can We Tell From APA's ROCE Trend?
You'd find it hard not to be impressed with the ROCE trend at APA. We found that the returns on capital employed over the last five years have risen by 216%. The company is now earning US$0.3 per dollar of capital employed. In regards to capital employed, APA appears to been achieving more with less, since the business is using 45% less capital to run its operation. A business that's shrinking its asset base like this isn't usually typical of a soon to be multi-bagger company.
Our Take On APA's ROCE
In the end, APA has proven it's capital allocation skills are good with those higher returns from less amount of capital. Since the stock has only returned 19% to shareholders over the last five years, the promising fundamentals may not be recognized yet by investors. Given that, we'd look further into this stock in case it has more traits that could make it multiply in the long term.
APA does have some risks though, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for APA that you might be interested in.
If you want to search for more stocks that have been earning high returns, check out this free list of stocks with solid balance sheets that are also earning high returns on equity.
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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.