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Don’t Buy Installed Building Products, Inc. (NYSE:IBP) Until You Understand Its ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Installed Building Products, Inc. (NYSE:IBP) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to 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. 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.

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 Installed Building Products:

0.14 = US$116m ÷ (US$1.1b - US$215m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Installed Building Products has an ROCE of 14%.

Check out our latest analysis for Installed Building Products

Is Installed Building Products's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Installed Building Products's ROCE is fairly close to the Consumer Durables industry average of 12%. Regardless of where Installed Building Products sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

Installed Building Products's current ROCE of 14% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 20% ROCE. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. The image below shows how Installed Building Products's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:IBP Past Revenue and Net Income, December 4th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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 Installed Building Products.

Do Installed Building Products'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. 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.

Installed Building Products has total assets of US$1.1b and current liabilities of US$215m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 20% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Installed Building Products's ROCE

With that in mind, Installed Building Products's ROCE appears pretty good. Installed Building Products looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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.