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Are Monster Beverage Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MNST) High Returns Really That Great?

Simply Wall St

Today we’ll evaluate Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding 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. 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.’

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 Monster Beverage:

0.33 = US$1.3b ÷ (US$4.5b – US$601m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Monster Beverage has an ROCE of 33%.

Check out our latest analysis for Monster Beverage

Is Monster Beverage’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, Monster Beverage’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Beverage industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Monster Beverage’s ROCE is currently very good.

Our data shows that Monster Beverage currently has an ROCE of 33%, compared to its ROCE of 19% 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NasdaqGS:MNST Past Revenue and Net Income, March 1st 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Monster Beverage’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.

Monster Beverage has total assets of US$4.5b and current liabilities of US$601m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Monster Beverage’s ROCE

With low current liabilities and a high ROCE, Monster Beverage could be worthy of further investigation. Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Monster Beverage. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.