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What Can We Learn From EuroDry Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:EDRY) Investment Returns?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at EuroDry Ltd. (NASDAQ:EDRY) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 EuroDry:

0.046 = US$5.4m ÷ (US$127m - US$9.6m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, EuroDry has an ROCE of 4.6%.

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Does EuroDry Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, EuroDry's ROCE appears to be around the 4.9% average of the Shipping industry. Regardless of how EuroDry stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

NasdaqCM:EDRY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 27th 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. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for EuroDry.

How EuroDry's Current Liabilities Impact 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. 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.

EuroDry has total assets of US$127m and current liabilities of US$9.6m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 7.6% of its total assets. With barely any current liabilities, there is minimal impact on EuroDry's admittedly low ROCE.

The Bottom Line On EuroDry's ROCE

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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.