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Is Monster Beverage Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MNST) 31% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we 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.

What is 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Monster Beverage:

0.31 = US$1.4b ÷ (US$5.1b - US$706m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Monster Beverage has an ROCE of 31%.

Check out our latest analysis for Monster Beverage

Does Monster Beverage Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Monster Beverage's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 10% 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.

You can see in the image below how Monster Beverage's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:MNST Past Revenue and Net Income, September 16th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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 Monster Beverage.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Monster Beverage's ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Monster Beverage has total assets of US$5.1b and current liabilities of US$706m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 14% 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

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making Monster Beverage look quite interesting. Monster Beverage 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 are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.