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Is AVX Corporation’s (NYSE:AVX) Capital Allocation Ability Worth Your Time?

Veer Mallick

Today we’ll evaluate AVX Corporation (NYSE:AVX) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its 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 AVX:

0.11 = US$178m ÷ (US$2.8b – US$307m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, AVX has an ROCE of 11%.

View our latest analysis for AVX

Does AVX Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see AVX’s ROCE is around the 11% average reported by the Electronic industry. Regardless of where AVX sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

As we can see, AVX currently has an ROCE of 11% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 7.9%. This makes us think the business might be improving.

NYSE:AVX Last Perf January 26th 19

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for AVX.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect AVX’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 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.

AVX has total assets of US$2.8b and current liabilities of US$307m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 11% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From AVX’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, AVX could be worth a closer look. Of course you might be able to find a better stock than AVX. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.