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Examining MEDNAX, Inc.’s (NYSE:MD) Weak Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate MEDNAX, Inc. (NYSE:MD) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.'

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 MEDNAX:

0.08 = US$414m ÷ (US$5.6b - US$441m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, MEDNAX has an ROCE of 8.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for MEDNAX

Is MEDNAX's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, MEDNAX's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 11% average reported by the Healthcare industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, MEDNAX's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

We can see that , MEDNAX currently has an ROCE of 8.0%, less than the 13% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how MEDNAX's past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:MD Past Revenue and Net Income, August 12th 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. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect MEDNAX'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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

MEDNAX has total liabilities of US$441m and total assets of US$5.6b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 7.8% of its total assets. MEDNAX has a low level of current liabilities, which have a minimal impact on its uninspiring ROCE.

Our Take On MEDNAX's ROCE

MEDNAX looks like an ok business, but on this analysis it is not at the top of our buy list. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.