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MAXIMUS, Inc. (NYSE:MMS) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate MAXIMUS, Inc. (NYSE:MMS) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.

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 MAXIMUS:

0.23 = US$306m ÷ (US$1.7b - US$357m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, MAXIMUS has an ROCE of 23%.

Check out our latest analysis for MAXIMUS

Does MAXIMUS Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. MAXIMUS's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 10% average in the IT 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, MAXIMUS's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

The image below shows how MAXIMUS's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:MMS Past Revenue and Net Income, October 4th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for MAXIMUS.

How MAXIMUS'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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

MAXIMUS has total assets of US$1.7b and current liabilities of US$357m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 21% of its total assets. A minimal amount of current liabilities limits the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On MAXIMUS'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.