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Is Franklin Electric Co., Inc. (NASDAQ:FELE) Better Than Average At Deploying Capital?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at Franklin Electric Co., Inc. (NASDAQ:FELE) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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.'

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 Franklin Electric:

0.13 = US$121m ÷ (US$1.2b - US$284m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Franklin Electric has an ROCE of 13%.

Check out our latest analysis for Franklin Electric

Does Franklin Electric Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Franklin Electric's ROCE is around the 11% average reported by the Machinery industry. Regardless of where Franklin Electric sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

NasdaqGS:FELE Past Revenue and Net Income, June 13th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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.

Do Franklin Electric's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Franklin Electric has total assets of US$1.2b and current liabilities of US$284m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 23% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Franklin Electric's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Franklin Electric could be worth a closer look. Franklin Electric shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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.