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Why We Like MarineMax, Inc.’s (NYSE:HZO) 17% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at MarineMax, Inc. (NYSE:HZO) 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, we’ll go over how we 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

Or for MarineMax:

0.17 = US$63m ÷ (US$696m – US$333m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, MarineMax has an ROCE of 17%.

See our latest analysis for MarineMax

Does MarineMax Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. MarineMax’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 13% average in the Specialty Retail industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of where MarineMax sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

As we can see, MarineMax currently has an ROCE of 17% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 8.8%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NYSE:HZO Past Revenue and Net Income, February 26th 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for MarineMax.

Do MarineMax’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

MarineMax has total liabilities of US$333m and total assets of US$696m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 48% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, MarineMax’s ROCE is boosted somewhat.

The Bottom Line On MarineMax’s ROCE

While its ROCE looks good, it’s worth remembering that the current liabilities are making the business look better. You might be able to find a better buy than MarineMax. 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).

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.