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Is Kontoor Brands, Inc.’s (NYSE:KTB) 24% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Kontoor Brands, Inc. (NYSE:KTB) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Kontoor Brands:

0.24 = US$289m ÷ (US$1.6b - US$382m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Kontoor Brands has an ROCE of 24%.

See our latest analysis for Kontoor Brands

Does Kontoor Brands Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Kontoor Brands's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 12% average in the Luxury industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Kontoor Brands's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

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

NYSE:KTB Past Revenue and Net Income, August 22nd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Kontoor Brands.

How Kontoor Brands's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Kontoor Brands has total liabilities of US$382m and total assets of US$1.6b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 24% of its total assets. A minimal amount of current liabilities limits the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Kontoor Brands's ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making Kontoor Brands look quite interesting. There might be better investments than Kontoor Brands out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

If you are like me, then you will 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.