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BrightView Holdings, Inc.’s (NYSE:BV) Investment Returns Are Lagging Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at BrightView Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BV) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is 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. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

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

Or for BrightView Holdings:

0.046 = US$119m ÷ (US$2.9b - US$345m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, BrightView Holdings has an ROCE of 4.6%.

See our latest analysis for BrightView Holdings

Is BrightView Holdings's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, BrightView Holdings's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 9.9% average in the Commercial Services industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Independently of how BrightView Holdings compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.7% available in government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

The image below shows how BrightView Holdings's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:BV Past Revenue and Net Income, November 10th 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

BrightView Holdings's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

BrightView Holdings has total liabilities of US$345m and total assets of US$2.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 12% of its total assets. This is not a high level of current liabilities, which would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On BrightView Holdings's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however BrightView Holdings has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than BrightView Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.