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If you’re looking for a multi-bagger, there’s a few things to keep an eye out for. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount 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. Speaking of which, we noticed some great changes in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) returns on capital, so let’s have a look.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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 Apple is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

0.39 = US$89b ÷ (US$337b – US$106b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

Thus, Apple has an ROCE of 39%. That’s a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 6.1% earned by companies in a similar industry.

See our latest analysis for Apple

roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Apple 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.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Apple Tell Us?

Apple has not disappointed with their ROCE growth. More specifically, while the company has kept capital employed relatively flat over the last five years, the ROCE has climbed 37% in that same time. So our take on this is that the business has increased efficiencies to generate these higher returns, all the while not needing to make any additional investments. 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.

In Conclusion…

In summary, we’re delighted to see that Apple has been able to increase efficiencies and earn higher rates of return on the same amount of capital. And a remarkable 445% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.

One more thing, we’ve spotted 1 warning sign facing Apple that you might find interesting.

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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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