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Why The Boston Beer Company, Inc.’s (NYSE:SAM) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate The Boston Beer Company, Inc. (NYSE:SAM) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Boston Beer Company:

0.19 = US$162m ÷ (US$1.0b - US$166m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Boston Beer Company has an ROCE of 19%.

Check out our latest analysis for Boston Beer Company

Does Boston Beer Company Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In our analysis, Boston Beer Company's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 12% average in the Beverage industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Boston Beer Company sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

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

NYSE:SAM Past Revenue and Net Income, January 22nd 2020

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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 Boston Beer Company.

How Boston Beer Company's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Boston Beer Company has total assets of US$1.0b and current liabilities of US$166m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Boston Beer Company's ROCE

Overall, Boston Beer Company has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. There might be better investments than Boston Beer Company out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.