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Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ:CZR) Might Not Be A Great Investment

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ:CZR) 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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 'No two businesses are exactly alike.'

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 Caesars Entertainment:

0.045 = US$1.1b ÷ (US$26b - US$2.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Caesars Entertainment has an ROCE of 4.5%.

View our latest analysis for Caesars Entertainment

Does Caesars Entertainment Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Caesars Entertainment's ROCE is meaningfully below the Hospitality industry average of 9.4%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Independently of how Caesars Entertainment compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.7% available in government bonds. There are potentially more appealing investments elsewhere.

In our analysis, Caesars Entertainment's ROCE appears to be 4.5%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 2.9%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NasdaqGS:CZR Past Revenue and Net Income, June 11th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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. 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 Caesars Entertainment's 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Caesars Entertainment has total liabilities of US$2.0b and total assets of US$26b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 7.5% of its total assets. Caesars Entertainment has a low level of current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its already low ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Caesars Entertainment's ROCE

Nevertheless, there are potentially more attractive companies to invest in. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Caesars Entertainment. 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.

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.