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Why You Should Like Marriott International, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MAR) ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Marriott International:

0.12 = US$2.2b ÷ (US$25b - US$5.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Marriott International has an ROCE of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Marriott International

Does Marriott International Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Marriott International's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 8.5% average in the Hospitality 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. Separate from Marriott International's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

In our analysis, Marriott International's ROCE appears to be 12%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 7.4%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. You can see in the image below how Marriott International's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:MAR Past Revenue and Net Income, December 5th 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Marriott International.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Marriott International's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Marriott International has total assets of US$25b and current liabilities of US$5.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 23% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Marriott International's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Marriott International could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Marriott International out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.