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Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ:GILT) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ:GILT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Gilat Satellite Networks:

0.096 = US$23m ÷ (US$366m - US$128m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Gilat Satellite Networks has an ROCE of 9.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for Gilat Satellite Networks

Does Gilat Satellite Networks Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, Gilat Satellite Networks's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 6.3% average in the Communications industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Aside from the industry comparison, Gilat Satellite Networks'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.

Gilat Satellite Networks has an ROCE of 9.6%, but it didn't have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That implies the business has been improving. The image below shows how Gilat Satellite Networks's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:GILT Past Revenue and Net Income, September 26th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. You can check if Gilat Satellite Networks has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Gilat Satellite Networks's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Gilat Satellite Networks has total assets of US$366m and current liabilities of US$128m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 35% of its total assets. Gilat Satellite Networks has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

What We Can Learn From Gilat Satellite Networks's ROCE

Unfortunately, its ROCE is still uninspiring, and there are potentially more attractive prospects out there. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.