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Is Stoneridge, Inc.’s (NYSE:SRI) Return On Capital Employed Any Good?

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at Stoneridge, Inc. (NYSE:SRI) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 Stoneridge:

0.16 = US$68m ÷ (US$582m - US$157m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Stoneridge has an ROCE of 16%.

See our latest analysis for Stoneridge

Is Stoneridge's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see Stoneridge's ROCE is around the 16% average reported by the Auto Components industry. Independently of how Stoneridge compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NYSE:SRI Past Revenue and Net Income, June 26th 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Stoneridge.

Do Stoneridge's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.

Stoneridge has total assets of US$582m and current liabilities of US$157m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 27% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Stoneridge's ROCE

With that in mind, Stoneridge's ROCE appears pretty good. There might be better investments than Stoneridge 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.

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. Thank you for reading.