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A Close Look At Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.’s (NYSE:RGR) 24% ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE:RGR) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Sturm Ruger:

0.24 = US$66m ÷ (US$332m - US$56m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Sturm Ruger has an ROCE of 24%.

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Is Sturm Ruger's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Sturm Ruger's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 16% average in the Leisure industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Sturm Ruger's ROCE is currently very good.

Sturm Ruger's current ROCE of 24% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 43% ROCE. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

NYSE:RGR Past Revenue and Net Income, May 21st 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. How cyclical is Sturm Ruger? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Sturm Ruger's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Sturm Ruger has total liabilities of US$56m and total assets of US$332m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 17% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Sturm Ruger's ROCE

With low current liabilities and a high ROCE, Sturm Ruger could be worthy of further investigation. Sturm Ruger shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

I will like Sturm Ruger 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.