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Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSK) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSK) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.

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 Verisk Analytics:

0.15 = US$831m ÷ (US$7.1b - US$1.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, Verisk Analytics has an ROCE of 15%.

View our latest analysis for Verisk Analytics

Does Verisk Analytics Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Verisk Analytics's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Professional Services industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of where Verisk Analytics sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

The image below shows how Verisk Analytics's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:VRSK Past Revenue and Net Income, February 26th 2020
NasdaqGS:VRSK Past Revenue and Net Income, February 26th 2020

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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Verisk Analytics's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Verisk Analytics has total assets of US$7.1b and current liabilities of US$1.5b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 21% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Verisk Analytics's ROCE

Overall, Verisk Analytics has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Verisk Analytics shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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.