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What Can We Make Of Amdocs Limited’s (NASDAQ:DOX) High Return On Capital?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

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

Or for Amdocs:

0.14 = US$549m ÷ (US$5.2b - US$1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Amdocs has an ROCE of 14%.

Check out our latest analysis for Amdocs

Does Amdocs Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Amdocs's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.9% average in the IT industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of where Amdocs sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Amdocs's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGS:DOX Past Revenue and Net Income, October 20th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Amdocs.

Amdocs's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Amdocs has total liabilities of US$1.2b and total assets of US$5.2b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 23% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Amdocs's ROCE

Overall, Amdocs has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Amdocs shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.