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What Can We Make Of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited’s (NASDAQ:MLCO) High Return On Capital?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (NASDAQ:MLCO) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the 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?

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 Melco Resorts & Entertainment:

0.11 = US$780m ÷ (US$9.8b - US$2.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Melco Resorts & Entertainment has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Melco Resorts & Entertainment

Is Melco Resorts & Entertainment's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Melco Resorts & Entertainment's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 8.5% average in the Hospitality industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Separate from Melco Resorts & Entertainment's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

Our data shows that Melco Resorts & Entertainment currently has an ROCE of 11%, compared to its ROCE of 3.0% 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Melco Resorts & Entertainment's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGS:MLCO Past Revenue and Net Income, January 20th 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment has total liabilities of US$2.5b and total assets of US$9.8b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Melco Resorts & Entertainment's ROCE

Overall, Melco Resorts & Entertainment has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Melco Resorts & Entertainment 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.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.