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Don’t Buy DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) Until You Understand Its ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 DISH Network:

0.074 = US$1.9b ÷ (US$32b - US$6.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, DISH Network has an ROCE of 7.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for DISH Network

Is DISH Network's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, DISH Network's ROCE appears to be around the 9.0% average of the Media industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, DISH Network's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

DISH Network's current ROCE of 7.4% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 11%, 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. The image below shows how DISH Network's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:DISH Past Revenue and Net Income, September 21st 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for DISH Network.

How DISH Network's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 liabilities of US$6.2b and total assets of US$32b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 19% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

What We Can Learn From DISH Network's ROCE

That said, DISH Network's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. You might be able to find a better investment than DISH Network. 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).

DISH Network is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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.