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Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMED) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Today weâ€™ll look at Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMED) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, weâ€™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, weâ€™ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, weâ€™ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then weâ€™ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since â€˜No two businesses are exactly alike.â€™

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) Ã· (Total Assets â€“ Current Liabilities)

Or for Amedisys:

0.30 = US\$111m Ã· (US\$726m â€“ US\$219m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Amedisys has an ROCE of 30%.

Does Amedisys Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Amedisysâ€™s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 13% average in the Healthcare industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Amedisysâ€™s ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

Our data shows that Amedisys currently has an ROCE of 30%, compared to its ROCE of 13% 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Amedisysâ€™s ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Amedisys has total assets of US\$726m and current liabilities of US\$219m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 30% of its total assets. A medium level of current liabilities boosts Amedisysâ€™s ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Amedisysâ€™s ROCE

Despite this, it reports a high ROCE, and may be worth investigating further. But note: Amedisys may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.