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Why You Should Care About GoDaddy Inc.’s (NYSE:GDDY) Low Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE:GDDY) 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. 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 measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the 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. 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?

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 GoDaddy:

0.03 = US$130m ÷ (US$6.4b - US$2.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, GoDaddy has an ROCE of 3.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for GoDaddy

Does GoDaddy Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see GoDaddy's ROCE is meaningfully below the IT industry average of 10%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Putting aside GoDaddy's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor - considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. It is likely that there are more attractive prospects out there.

GoDaddy has an ROCE of 3.0%, but it didn't have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That implies the business has been improving.

NYSE:GDDY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 30th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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.

How GoDaddy's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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.

GoDaddy has total assets of US$6.4b and current liabilities of US$2.0b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 31% of its total assets. In light of sufficient current liabilities to noticeably boost the ROCE, GoDaddy's ROCE is concerning.

Our Take On GoDaddy's ROCE

This company may not be the most attractive investment prospect. 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.

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