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Has Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:PKOH) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:PKOH) 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

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 Park-Ohio Holdings:

0.11 = US$104m ÷ (US$1.2b - US$299m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Park-Ohio Holdings has an ROCE of 11%.

View our latest analysis for Park-Ohio Holdings

Is Park-Ohio Holdings's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Park-Ohio Holdings's ROCE is fairly close to the Machinery industry average of 11%. Independently of how Park-Ohio Holdings compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NasdaqGS:PKOH Past Revenue and Net Income, April 11th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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.

Park-Ohio Holdings's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Park-Ohio Holdings has total assets of US$1.2b and current liabilities of US$299m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 25% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Park-Ohio Holdings's ROCE

Overall, Park-Ohio Holdings has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. There might be better investments than Park-Ohio Holdings out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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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.