What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? 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 VirTra (NASDAQ:VTSI), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?
If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for VirTra:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.011 = US$485k ÷ (US$51m - US$6.8m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
Therefore, VirTra has an ROCE of 1.1%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Aerospace & Defense industry average of 9.1%.
In the above chart we have measured VirTra'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.
So How Is VirTra's ROCE Trending?
In terms of VirTra's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 26% over the last five years. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.
On a side note, VirTra has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 13% of total assets. So we could link some of this to the decrease in ROCE. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.
Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for VirTra. These trends don't appear to have influenced returns though, because the total return from the stock has been mostly flat over the last five years. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.
If you'd like to know about the risks facing VirTra, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.
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.
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