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Is Etsy, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ETSY) 12% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ETSY) and reflect on its potential as an investment. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. 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?

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 Etsy:

0.12 = US$106m ÷ (US$1.0b - US$167m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Etsy has an ROCE of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Etsy

Does Etsy Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Etsy's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 8.9% average in the Online Retail 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. Independently of how Etsy compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

We can see that , Etsy currently has an ROCE of 12% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 3.8%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. You can see in the image below how Etsy's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:ETSY Past Revenue and Net Income, August 3rd 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Etsy.

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

Etsy has total assets of US$1.0b and current liabilities of US$167m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Etsy's ROCE

With that in mind, Etsy's ROCE appears pretty good. Etsy 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 are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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.