Today we'll evaluate LeMaitre Vascular, Inc. (NASDAQ:LMAT) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.
First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared 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. 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'.
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 LeMaitre Vascular:
0.14 = US$21m ÷ (US$163m - US$17m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
Therefore, LeMaitre Vascular has an ROCE of 14%.
Is LeMaitre Vascular's ROCE Good?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. LeMaitre Vascular's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 10% average in the Medical Equipment 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. Separate from LeMaitre Vascular's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.
You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how LeMaitre Vascular's past growth compares to other companies.
When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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 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.
LeMaitre Vascular'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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.
LeMaitre Vascular has total assets of US$163m and current liabilities of US$17m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 11% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.
What We Can Learn From LeMaitre Vascular's ROCE
Overall, LeMaitre Vascular has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. LeMaitre Vascular 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.
I will like LeMaitre Vascular better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.