What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? In a perfect world, we’d like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Basically this means that a company has profitable initiatives that it can continue to reinvest in, which is a trait of a compounding machine. With that in mind, we’ve noticed some promising trends at NetScout Systems (NASDAQ:NTCT) so let’s look a bit deeper.
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. To calculate this metric for NetScout Systems, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)
0.019 = US$49m ÷ (US$3.0b – US$371m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).
Therefore, NetScout Systems has an ROCE of 1.9%. In absolute terms, that’s a low return and it also under-performs the Communications industry average of 7.1%.
In the above chart we have measured NetScout 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 NetScout Systems.
So How Is NetScout Systems’ ROCE Trending?
Even though ROCE is still low in absolute terms, it’s good to see it’s heading in the right direction. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 367% in that same time. Basically the business is generating higher returns from the same amount of capital and that is proof that there are improvements in the company’s efficiencies. It’s worth looking deeper into this though because while it’s great that the business is more efficient, it might also mean that going forward the areas to invest internally for the organic growth are lacking.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, NetScout Systems is collecting higher returns from the same amount of capital, and that’s impressive. Since the total return from the stock has been almost flat over the last five years, there might be an opportunity here if the valuation looks good. With that in mind, we believe the promising trends warrant this stock for further investigation.
On the other side of ROCE, we have to consider valuation. That’s why we have a FREE intrinsic value estimation on our platform that is definitely worth checking out.
While NetScout Systems isn’t earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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.