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Should You Like Tapestry, Inc.’s (NYSE:TPR) High Return On Capital Employed?

Gabriel Boyd

Today we’ll look at Tapestry, Inc. (NYSE:TPR) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Tapestry:

0.16 = US$909m ÷ (US$6.7b – US$899m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Tapestry has an ROCE of 16%.

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Does Tapestry Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. It appears that Tapestry’s ROCE is fairly close to the Luxury industry average of 14%. Separate from Tapestry’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.


NYSE:TPR Last Perf January 20th 19

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Tapestry.

Do Tapestry’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. 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.

Tapestry has total assets of US$6.7b and current liabilities of US$899m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Tapestry’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Tapestry could be worth a closer look. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

I will like Tapestry better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.