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Has Superior Group of Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGC) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Superior Group of Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGC) 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. 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 Superior Group of Companies:

0.078 = US$22m ÷ (US$345m - US$70m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020.)

So, Superior Group of Companies has an ROCE of 7.8%.

See our latest analysis for Superior Group of Companies

Is Superior Group of Companies's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Superior Group of Companies's ROCE appears to be around the 9.5% average of the Luxury industry. Separate from how Superior Group of Companies stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

We can see that, Superior Group of Companies currently has an ROCE of 7.8%, less than the 13% it reported 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Superior Group of Companies's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGM:SGC Past Revenue and Net Income May 4th 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. 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 Superior Group of Companies.

How Superior Group of Companies's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Superior Group of Companies has current liabilities of US$70m and total assets of US$345m. 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.

The Bottom Line On Superior Group of Companies's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with Superior Group of Companies's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Superior Group of Companies. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.