U.S. Markets closed

Should You Like National Beverage Corp.’s (NASDAQ:FIZZ) High Return On Capital Employed?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:FIZZ) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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.

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 National Beverage:

0.37 = US$162m ÷ (US$550m - US$117m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2019.)

So, National Beverage has an ROCE of 37%.

See our latest analysis for National Beverage

Is National Beverage's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, National Beverage's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 10% average in the Beverage industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, National Beverage's ROCE is currently very good.

The image below shows how National Beverage's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:FIZZ Past Revenue and Net Income, October 9th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. 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 National Beverage'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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

National Beverage has total assets of US$550m and current liabilities of US$117m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 21% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

Our Take On National Beverage's ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making National Beverage look quite interesting. National 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.