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Does Synopsys, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SNPS) ROCE Reflect Well On The Business?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Synopsys, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNPS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the 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. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is 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. 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?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

Or for Synopsys:

0.11 = US$497m ÷ (US$6.2b - US$1.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2019.)

Therefore, Synopsys has an ROCE of 11%.

See our latest analysis for Synopsys

Is Synopsys's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Synopsys's ROCE appears to be around the 9.8% average of the Software industry. Separate from Synopsys's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

Our data shows that Synopsys currently has an ROCE of 11%, compared to its ROCE of 8.7% 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. The image below shows how Synopsys's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:SNPS Past Revenue and Net Income, November 14th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Synopsys.

How Synopsys's Current Liabilities Impact 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Synopsys has total liabilities of US$1.6b and total assets of US$6.2b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Synopsys's ROCE

Overall, Synopsys has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. There might be better investments than Synopsys 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.