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Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

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. 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 Brinker International:

0.29 = US$236m ÷ (US$1.3b - US$454m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Brinker International has an ROCE of 29%.

Check out our latest analysis for Brinker International

Does Brinker International Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Brinker International's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.2% average in the Hospitality industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Brinker International's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

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

NYSE:EAT Past Revenue and Net Income, August 12th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. 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 Brinker International.

How Brinker International's Current Liabilities Impact Its 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Brinker International has total liabilities of US$454m and total assets of US$1.3b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 36% of its total assets. Brinker International has a medium level of current liabilities, boosting its ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Brinker International's ROCE

Despite this, it reports a high ROCE, and may be worth investigating further. Brinker International looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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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.