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ICU Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICUI) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at ICU Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICUI) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First, 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its 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?

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 ICU Medical:

0.14 = US$187m ÷ (US$1.6b - US$238m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, ICU Medical has an ROCE of 14%.

See our latest analysis for ICU Medical

Does ICU Medical Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that ICU Medical's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 10% average in the Medical Equipment industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how ICU Medical compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how ICU Medical's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGS:ICUI Past Revenue and Net Income, August 3rd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for ICU Medical.

Do ICU Medical's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

ICU Medical has total liabilities of US$238m and total assets of US$1.6b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 15% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On ICU Medical's ROCE

Overall, ICU Medical has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. ICU Medical 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.

I will like ICU Medical better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.