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Ebix, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIX) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at Ebix, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIX) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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'.

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 Ebix:

0.12 = US$152m ÷ (US$1.6b - US$317m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Ebix has an ROCE of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Ebix

Does Ebix Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Ebix's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.4% average in the Software industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Separate from Ebix's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

NasdaqGS:EBIX Past Revenue and Net Income, April 8th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Ebix.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Ebix's 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Ebix has total assets of US$1.6b and current liabilities of US$317m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 20% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Ebix's ROCE

Overall, Ebix has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. You might be able to find a better buy than Ebix. 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).

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

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.