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What Can We Learn From Valmont Industries, Inc.’s (NYSE:VMI) Investment Returns?

Simply Wall St
·3 mins read

Today we'll look at Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE:VMI) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.

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 Valmont Industries:

0.11 = US$241m ÷ (US$2.8b - US$514m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Therefore, Valmont Industries has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Valmont Industries

Is Valmont Industries's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Valmont Industries's ROCE is around the 11% average reported by the Construction industry. Separate from Valmont Industries's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

You can see in the image below how Valmont Industries's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:VMI Past Revenue and Net Income April 16th 2020
NYSE:VMI Past Revenue and Net Income April 16th 2020

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Valmont Industries.

Do Valmont Industries's Current Liabilities Skew 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.

Valmont Industries has total assets of US$2.8b and current liabilities of US$514m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 19% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Valmont Industries's ROCE

With that in mind, Valmont Industries's ROCE appears pretty good. Valmont Industries looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

Valmont Industries is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.