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Do Modine Manufacturing Company’s (NYSE:MOD) Returns On Capital Employed Make The Cut?

Cameron Brookes

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Today we are going to look at Modine Manufacturing Company (NYSE:MOD) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Modine Manufacturing:

0.13 = US$115m ÷ (US$1.5b – US$475m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Modine Manufacturing has an ROCE of 13%.

See our latest analysis for Modine Manufacturing

Is Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. It appears that Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE is fairly close to the Auto Components industry average of 15%. Independently of how Modine Manufacturing compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

Our data shows that Modine Manufacturing currently has an ROCE of 13%, compared to its ROCE of 8.8% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NYSE:MOD Past Revenue and Net Income, February 22nd 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Modine Manufacturing has total liabilities of US$475m and total assets of US$1.5b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 31% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE is boosted somewhat.

Our Take On Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE

Modine Manufacturing’s ROCE does look good, but the level of current liabilities also contribute to that. You might be able to find a better buy than Modine Manufacturing. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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.