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Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. 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 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 Meridian Bioscience:

0.20 = US$45m ÷ (US$254m - US$24m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Meridian Bioscience has an ROCE of 20%.

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Does Meridian Bioscience Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Meridian Bioscience's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 10% average in the Medical Equipment industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Meridian Bioscience sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

NasdaqGS:VIVO Past Revenue and Net Income, May 20th 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, 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 Meridian Bioscience.

How Meridian Bioscience'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. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Meridian Bioscience has total assets of US$254m and current liabilities of US$24m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 9.5% of its total assets. With low current liabilities, Meridian Bioscience's decent ROCE looks that much more respectable.

What We Can Learn From Meridian Bioscience's ROCE

This is good to see, and while better prospects may exist, Meridian Bioscience seems worth researching further. Meridian Bioscience shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.