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Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMD) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMD) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to 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 measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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?

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 Cantel Medical:

0.14 = US$122m ÷ (US$1.0b - US$123m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2019.)

So, Cantel Medical has an ROCE of 14%.

Check out our latest analysis for Cantel Medical

Does Cantel Medical Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Cantel Medical's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Medical Equipment industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Cantel Medical compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NYSE:CMD Past Revenue and Net Income, April 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Cantel Medical.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Cantel Medical'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 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.

Cantel Medical has total assets of US$1.0b and current liabilities of US$123m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 12% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Cantel Medical's ROCE

With that in mind, Cantel Medical's ROCE appears pretty good. Cantel Medical 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.