There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at Dana (NYSE:DAN) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.
What is 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 Dana:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.033 = US$177m ÷ (US$7.4b - US$1.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
Therefore, Dana has an ROCE of 3.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Auto Components industry average of 9.3%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Dana 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.
The Trend Of ROCE
In terms of Dana's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 14%, but since then they've fallen to 3.3%. Given the business is employing more capital while revenue has slipped, this is a bit concerning. This could mean that the business is losing its competitive advantage or market share, because while more money is being put into ventures, it's actually producing a lower return - "less bang for their buck" per se.
The Bottom Line
From the above analysis, we find it rather worrisome that returns on capital and sales for Dana have fallen, meanwhile the business is employing more capital than it was five years ago. However the stock has delivered a 94% return to shareholders over the last five years, so investors might be expecting the trends to turn around. In any case, the current underlying trends don't bode well for long term performance so unless they reverse, we'd start looking elsewhere.
Dana does have some risks, we noticed 4 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think you should know about.
While Dana may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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