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Is Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:NVMI) 14% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. (NASDAQ:NVMI) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared 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 measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.'

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 Nova Measuring Instruments:

0.14 = US$46m ÷ (US$366m - US$45m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Nova Measuring Instruments has an ROCE of 14%.

View our latest analysis for Nova Measuring Instruments

Is Nova Measuring Instruments's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Nova Measuring Instruments's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 10% average in the Semiconductor industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Nova Measuring Instruments sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

We can see that , Nova Measuring Instruments currently has an ROCE of 14% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 8.6%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Nova Measuring Instruments's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGS:NVMI Past Revenue and Net Income, August 13th 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 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 Nova Measuring Instruments'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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Nova Measuring Instruments has total assets of US$366m and current liabilities of US$45m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 12% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Nova Measuring Instruments's ROCE

Overall, Nova Measuring Instruments has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Nova Measuring Instruments 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.