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Momo Inc. (NASDAQ:MOMO) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Momo Inc. (NASDAQ:MOMO) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. 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.

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. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Momo:

0.17 = CN¥2.7b ÷ (CN¥19b - CN¥3.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Momo has an ROCE of 17%.

See our latest analysis for Momo

Does Momo Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Momo's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 8.7% average in the Interactive Media and Services industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Momo compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

We can see that , Momo currently has an ROCE of 17% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 1.1%. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can see in the image below how Momo's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:MOMO Past Revenue and Net Income, August 13th 2019

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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Momo.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Momo's 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Momo has total assets of CN¥19b and current liabilities of CN¥3.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 16% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Momo's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Momo could be worth a closer look. Momo 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.