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Why We’re Not Keen On Thermon Group Holdings, Inc.’s (NYSE:THR) 7.5% Return On Capital

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Today we'll evaluate Thermon Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:THR) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE 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 Thermon Group Holdings:

0.075 = US$44m ÷ (US$647m - US$60m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, Thermon Group Holdings has an ROCE of 7.5%.

See our latest analysis for Thermon Group Holdings

Does Thermon Group Holdings Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, Thermon Group Holdings's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 9.9% average reported by the Electrical industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Aside from the industry comparison, Thermon Group Holdings's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

The image below shows how Thermon Group Holdings's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:THR Past Revenue and Net Income April 1st 2020
NYSE:THR Past Revenue and Net Income April 1st 2020

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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Thermon Group Holdings.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Thermon Group Holdings's 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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Thermon Group Holdings has total assets of US$647m and current liabilities of US$60m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 9.4% of its total assets. With low levels of current liabilities, at least Thermon Group Holdings's mediocre ROCE is not unduly boosted.

Our Take On Thermon Group Holdings's ROCE

Based on this information, Thermon Group Holdings appears to be a mediocre business. You might be able to find a better investment than Thermon Group Holdings. 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).

I will like Thermon Group Holdings better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.