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A Close Look At Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.’s (NYSE:SSD) 17% ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. (NYSE:SSD) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 Simpson Manufacturing:

0.17 = US$161m ÷ (US$1.1b - US$166m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Simpson Manufacturing has an ROCE of 17%.

See our latest analysis for Simpson Manufacturing

Does Simpson Manufacturing Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Simpson Manufacturing's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 13% average in the Building industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Simpson Manufacturing sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

The image below shows how Simpson Manufacturing's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:SSD Past Revenue and Net Income, January 15th 2020

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 only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Simpson Manufacturing.

Do Simpson Manufacturing's Current Liabilities Skew Its 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.

Simpson Manufacturing has total liabilities of US$166m and total assets of US$1.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 15% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Simpson Manufacturing's ROCE

With that in mind, Simpson Manufacturing's ROCE appears pretty good. There might be better investments than Simpson Manufacturing 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.