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Why CoreLogic, Inc.’s (NYSE:CLGX) Use Of Investor Capital Doesn’t Look Great

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate CoreLogic, Inc. (NYSE:CLGX) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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, 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.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.'

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 CoreLogic:

0.065 = US$235m ÷ (US$4.2b - US$587m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, CoreLogic has an ROCE of 6.5%.

View our latest analysis for CoreLogic

Is CoreLogic's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see CoreLogic's ROCE is meaningfully below the IT industry average of 11%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from how CoreLogic stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

NYSE:CLGX Past Revenue and Net Income, April 11th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. 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 CoreLogic.

How CoreLogic'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. 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.

CoreLogic has total liabilities of US$587m and total assets of US$4.2b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From CoreLogic's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with CoreLogic's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than CoreLogic. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.