U.S. Markets closed

Is Fossil Group, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:FOSL) Capital Allocation Ability Worth Your Time?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Fossil Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOSL) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Understanding 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. 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?

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 Fossil Group:

0.097 = US$104m ÷ (US$1.6b - US$528m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Fossil Group has an ROCE of 9.7%.

See our latest analysis for Fossil Group

Is Fossil Group's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Fossil Group's ROCE appears to be around the 12% average of the Luxury industry. Separate from how Fossil Group stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

You can see in the image below how Fossil Group's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:FOSL Past Revenue and Net Income, October 24th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. 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 Fossil Group's ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Fossil Group has total liabilities of US$528m and total assets of US$1.6b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 33% of its total assets. Fossil Group's middling level of current liabilities have the effect of boosting its ROCE a bit.

The Bottom Line On Fossil Group's ROCE

Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. 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).

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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.