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Should You Care About Encore Wire Corporation’s (NASDAQ:WIRE) Investment Potential?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Encore Wire Corporation (NASDAQ:WIRE) 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Encore Wire:

0.13 = US$100m ÷ (US$854m - US$76m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Encore Wire has an ROCE of 13%.

View our latest analysis for Encore Wire

Is Encore Wire's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Encore Wire's ROCE appears to be around the 11% average of the Electrical industry. Independently of how Encore Wire compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

You can see in the image below how Encore Wire's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:WIRE Past Revenue and Net Income, August 27th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the 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 Encore Wire.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Encore Wire'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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Encore Wire has total liabilities of US$76m and total assets of US$854m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 8.9% of its total assets. With low current liabilities, Encore Wire's decent ROCE looks that much more respectable.

Our Take On Encore Wire's ROCE

This is good to see, and while better prospects may exist, Encore Wire seems worth researching further. Encore Wire 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.

I will like Encore Wire better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.