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Kornit Digital Ltd. (NASDAQ:KRNT) Might Not Be A Great Investment

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at Kornit Digital Ltd. (NASDAQ:KRNT) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Kornit Digital:

0.033 = US$5.9m ÷ (US$215m - US$33m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Kornit Digital has an ROCE of 3.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Kornit Digital

Is Kornit Digital's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, Kornit Digital's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 12% average reported by the Machinery industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Regardless of how Kornit Digital stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). There are potentially more appealing investments elsewhere.

Kornit Digital's current ROCE of 3.3% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 6.4%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NasdaqGS:KRNT Past Revenue and Net Income, April 2nd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. 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 Kornit Digital.

Kornit Digital's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Kornit Digital has total assets of US$215m and current liabilities of US$33m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 15% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Kornit Digital's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however Kornit Digital has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. 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.