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Today we are going to look at LeMaitre Vascular, Inc. (NASDAQ:LMAT) 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 up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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.’
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 LeMaitre Vascular:
0.16 = US$21m ÷ (US$153m – US$20m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
Therefore, LeMaitre Vascular has an ROCE of 16%.
Is LeMaitre Vascular’s ROCE Good?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, LeMaitre Vascular’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Medical Equipment industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how LeMaitre Vascular compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.
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. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
How LeMaitre Vascular’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 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.
LeMaitre Vascular has total assets of US$153m and current liabilities of US$20m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.
Our Take On LeMaitre Vascular’s ROCE
This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, LeMaitre Vascular could be worth a closer look. You might be able to find a better buy than LeMaitre Vascular. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).
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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 email@example.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.