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Why You Should Like ASML Holding N.V.’s (AMS:ASML) ROCE

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate ASML Holding N.V. (AMS:ASML) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 ASML Holding:

0.16 = €2.7b ÷ (€20b - €3.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, ASML Holding has an ROCE of 16%.

View our latest analysis for ASML Holding

Is ASML Holding's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that ASML Holding's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.9% average in the Semiconductor industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Separate from ASML Holding's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

You can see in the image below how ASML Holding's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ENXTAM:ASML Past Revenue and Net Income, June 29th 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 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 ASML Holding.

Do ASML Holding'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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

ASML Holding has total assets of €20b and current liabilities of €3.7b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 18% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On ASML Holding's ROCE

With that in mind, ASML Holding's ROCE appears pretty good. ASML Holding 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.