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Why You Should Care About The Joint Corp.’s (NASDAQ:JYNT) Low Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at The Joint Corp. (NASDAQ:JYNT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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'.

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 Joint:

0.054 = US$802k ÷ (US$24m - US$8.7m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Joint has an ROCE of 5.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for Joint

Does Joint Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Joint's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 13% average in the Healthcare industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Independently of how Joint compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.7% available in government bonds. It is likely that there are more attractive prospects out there.

Joint reported an ROCE of 5.4% -- better than 3 years ago, when the company didn't make a profit. That implies the business has been improving.

NasdaqCM:JYNT Past Revenue and Net Income, April 5th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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

Joint has total liabilities of US$8.7m and total assets of US$24m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 37% of its total assets. Joint has a medium level of current liabilities (boosting the ROCE somewhat), and a low ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Joint's ROCE

There are likely better investments out there. But note: Joint may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.