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The Returns At Swatch Group (VTX:UHR) Aren't Growing

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. This shows us that it's a compounding machine, able to continually reinvest its earnings back into the business and generate higher returns. Having said that, from a first glance at Swatch Group (VTX:UHR) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

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 Swatch Group, this is the formula:

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

0.092 = CHF1.2b ÷ (CHF14b - CHF1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

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Thus, Swatch Group has an ROCE of 9.2%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Luxury industry average of 16%.

View our latest analysis for Swatch Group

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In the above chart we have measured Swatch Group's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Swatch Group for free.

What Can We Tell From Swatch Group's ROCE Trend?

Over the past five years, Swatch Group's ROCE and capital employed have both remained mostly flat. It's not uncommon to see this when looking at a mature and stable business that isn't re-investing its earnings because it has likely passed that phase of the business cycle. So don't be surprised if Swatch Group doesn't end up being a multi-bagger in a few years time. This probably explains why Swatch Group is paying out 40% of its income to shareholders in the form of dividends. Unless businesses have highly compelling growth opportunities, they'll typically return some money to shareholders.

The Bottom Line

We can conclude that in regards to Swatch Group's returns on capital employed and the trends, there isn't much change to report on. And in the last five years, the stock has given away 19% so the market doesn't look too hopeful on these trends strengthening any time soon. In any case, the stock doesn't have these traits of a multi-bagger discussed above, so if that's what you're looking for, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.

Swatch Group does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Swatch Group that you might be interested in.

While Swatch Group 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.