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Why We’re Not Impressed By Microchip Technology Incorporated’s (NASDAQ:MCHP) 4.4% ROCE

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at Microchip Technology Incorporated (NASDAQ:MCHP) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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. 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 Microchip Technology:

0.044 = US$767m ÷ (US$18b - US$644m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Microchip Technology has an ROCE of 4.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for Microchip Technology

Does Microchip Technology Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Microchip Technology's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 13% average in the Semiconductor industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Regardless of how Microchip Technology stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

Microchip Technology's current ROCE of 4.4% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 8.1%, 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

NasdaqGS:MCHP Past Revenue and Net Income, March 26th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Microchip Technology.

How Microchip Technology'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. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Microchip Technology has total liabilities of US$644m and total assets of US$18b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 3.5% of its total assets. Microchip Technology has a low level of current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its already low ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Microchip Technology's ROCE

Still, investors could probably find more attractive prospects with better performance out there. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.