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

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE:CRY) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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.'

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 CryoLife:

0.03 = US$16m ÷ (US$587m - US$36m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, CryoLife has an ROCE of 3.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for CryoLife

Does CryoLife Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In this analysis, CryoLife's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 10% average reported by the Medical Equipment industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Independently of how CryoLife compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.7% available in government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

CryoLife's current ROCE of 3.0% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 5.4% ROCE. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently.

NYSE:CRY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 6th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How CryoLife's Current Liabilities Impact 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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

CryoLife has total assets of US$587m and current liabilities of US$36m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 6.2% of its total assets. With barely any current liabilities, there is minimal impact on CryoLife's admittedly low ROCE.

The Bottom Line On CryoLife's ROCE

Nevertheless, there are potentially more attractive companies to invest in. You might be able to find a better investment than CryoLife. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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.