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Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ:IMMR) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Brandie Wetzel

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Today we’ll evaluate Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ:IMMR) 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, 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.

Understanding 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that ‘one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar’.

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 Immersion:

0.35 = -US$43.8m ÷ (US$147m – US$14m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Immersion has an ROCE of 35%.

View our latest analysis for Immersion

Does Immersion Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Immersion’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 12% average in the Tech industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Immersion’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

In our analysis, Immersion’s ROCE appears to be 35%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 5.2%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NASDAQGS:IMMR Last Perf February 13th 19

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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.

Immersion’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Immersion has total assets of US$147m and current liabilities of US$14m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 9.4% of its total assets. Immersion has low current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its relatively good ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Immersion’s ROCE

This suggests the company would be worth researching in more depth. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.