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Shareholders Should Look Hard At CyberArk Software Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:CYBR) 6.6% Return On Capital

Gerald Huddleston

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Today we are going to look at CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ:CYBR) 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.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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’.

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 CyberArk Software:

0.066 = US$21m ÷ (US$609m – US$121m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, CyberArk Software has an ROCE of 6.6%.

See our latest analysis for CyberArk Software

Does CyberArk Software Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, CyberArk Software’s ROCE appears meaningfully below the 9.4% average reported by the Software industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, CyberArk Software’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

CyberArk Software’s current ROCE of 6.6% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 13% ROCE. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NASDAQGS:CYBR Last Perf February 13th 19

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How CyberArk Software’s Current Liabilities Impact Its 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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

CyberArk Software has total liabilities of US$121m and total assets of US$609m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 20% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From CyberArk Software’s ROCE

That said, CyberArk Software’s ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. But note: CyberArk Software may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.