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C.H. Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ:CHRW) Will Want To Turn Around Its Return Trends

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If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So while C.H. Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ:CHRW) has a high ROCE right now, lets see what we can decipher from how returns are changing.

Understanding 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. The formula for this calculation on C.H. Robinson Worldwide is:

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

0.26 = US$859m ÷ (US$5.9b - US$2.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

Therefore, C.H. Robinson Worldwide has an ROCE of 26%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 12% earned by companies in a similar industry.

View our latest analysis for C.H. Robinson Worldwide

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for C.H. Robinson Worldwide compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for C.H. Robinson Worldwide.

So How Is C.H. Robinson Worldwide's ROCE Trending?

In terms of C.H. Robinson Worldwide's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. While it's comforting that the ROCE is high, five years ago it was 47%. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

Another thing to note, C.H. Robinson Worldwide has a high ratio of current liabilities to total assets of 44%. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. While it's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial if this ratio is lower.

The Bottom Line On C.H. Robinson Worldwide's ROCE

While returns have fallen for C.H. Robinson Worldwide in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. And the stock has followed suit returning a meaningful 64% to shareholders over the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

On a final note, we found 4 warning signs for C.H. Robinson Worldwide (3 make us uncomfortable) you should be aware of.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide is not the only stock earning high returns. If you'd like to see more, check out our free list of companies earning high returns on equity with solid fundamentals.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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