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Should You Care About Neogen Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NEOG) Investment Potential?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ:NEOG) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.'

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Neogen:

0.11 = US$69m ÷ (US$673m - US$34m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2019.)

So, Neogen has an ROCE of 11%.

See our latest analysis for Neogen

Does Neogen Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Neogen's ROCE is around the 10% average reported by the Medical Equipment industry. Regardless of where Neogen sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

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

NasdaqGS:NEOG Past Revenue and Net Income, July 20th 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 Neogen.

Do Neogen's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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.

Neogen has total liabilities of US$34m and total assets of US$673m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 5.1% of its total assets. In addition to low current liabilities (making a negligible impact on ROCE), Neogen earns a sound return on capital employed.

Our Take On Neogen's ROCE

If it is able to keep this up, Neogen could be attractive. There might be better investments than Neogen out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

I will like Neogen 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.