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Shareholders Should Look Hard At Inter Parfums, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:IPAR) 15% Return On Capital

David Rizzo

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Today we’ll evaluate Inter Parfums, Inc. (NASDAQ:IPAR) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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’.

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 Inter Parfums:

0.15 = US$81m ÷ (US$783m – US$162m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Inter Parfums has an ROCE of 15%.

View our latest analysis for Inter Parfums

Is Inter Parfums’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, Inter Parfums’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 25% average in the Personal Products industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from Inter Parfums’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

In our analysis, Inter Parfums’s ROCE appears to be 15%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 11%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NasdaqGS:IPAR Past Revenue and Net Income, February 19th 2019

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. 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 Inter Parfums.

How Inter Parfums’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 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.

Inter Parfums has total liabilities of US$162m and total assets of US$783m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 21% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Inter Parfums’s ROCE

With that in mind, Inter Parfums’s ROCE appears pretty good. You might be able to find a better buy than Inter Parfums. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.