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Why We’re Not Keen On TTM Technologies, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TTMI) 5.9% Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate TTM Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTMI) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 TTM Technologies:

0.059 = US$167m ÷ (US$3.4b - US$608m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2019.)

Therefore, TTM Technologies has an ROCE of 5.9%.

View our latest analysis for TTM Technologies

Is TTM Technologies's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see TTM Technologies's ROCE is meaningfully below the Electronic industry average of 12%. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, TTM Technologies'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.

NasdaqGS:TTMI Past Revenue and Net Income, June 5th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for TTM Technologies.

TTM Technologies's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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.

TTM Technologies has total liabilities of US$608m and total assets of US$3.4b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 18% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On TTM Technologies's ROCE

That said, TTM Technologies's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.