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Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DNKN) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DNKN) 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. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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?

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 Dunkin' Brands Group:

0.14 = US$399m ÷ (US$3.5b - US$540m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Dunkin' Brands Group has an ROCE of 14%.

See our latest analysis for Dunkin' Brands Group

Does Dunkin' Brands Group Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Dunkin' Brands Group's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 10% average in the Hospitality industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Dunkin' Brands Group compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NasdaqGS:DNKN Past Revenue and Net Income, April 17th 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Dunkin' Brands Group.

Do Dunkin' Brands Group'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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Dunkin' Brands Group has total liabilities of US$540m and total assets of US$3.5b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Dunkin' Brands Group's ROCE

Overall, Dunkin' Brands Group has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Dunkin' Brands Group 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.

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.