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How Do DISH Network Corporation’s (NASDAQ:DISH) Returns On Capital Compare To Peers?

Austin Wood

Today we’ll look at DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.’

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 DISH Network:

0.082 = US$2.0b ÷ (US$30b – US$4.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, DISH Network has an ROCE of 8.2%.

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Is DISH Network’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, DISH Network’s ROCE appears to be around the 8.2% average of the Media industry. Aside from the industry comparison, DISH Network’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

DISH Network’s current ROCE of 8.2% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 11% ROCE. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

NasdaqGS:DISH Last Perf January 16th 19

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for DISH Network.

Do DISH Network’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. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

DISH Network has total assets of US$30b and current liabilities of US$4.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

Our Take On DISH Network’s ROCE

That said, DISH Network’s ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. But note: DISH Network may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.