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Do TESSCO Technologies Incorporated’s (NASDAQ:TESS) Returns On Capital Employed Make The Cut?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate TESSCO Technologies Incorporated (NASDAQ:TESS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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'.

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 TESSCO Technologies:

0.074 = US$8.1m ÷ (US$206m - US$97m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, TESSCO Technologies has an ROCE of 7.4%.

See our latest analysis for TESSCO Technologies

Does TESSCO Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see TESSCO Technologies's ROCE is around the 7.4% average reported by the Communications industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, TESSCO Technologies'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.

NasdaqGS:TESS Past Revenue and Net Income, June 4th 2019

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 TESSCO Technologies.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect TESSCO Technologies's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

TESSCO Technologies has total assets of US$206m and current liabilities of US$97m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 47% of its total assets. TESSCO Technologies's middling level of current liabilities have the effect of boosting its ROCE a bit.

The Bottom Line On TESSCO Technologies's ROCE

With this level of liabilities and a mediocre ROCE, there are potentially better investments out there. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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

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.