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Why We Like Omnicom Group Inc.’s (NYSE:OMC) 20% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Omnicom Group:

0.20 = US$2.1b ÷ (US$25b - US$15b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Omnicom Group has an ROCE of 20%.

View our latest analysis for Omnicom Group

Is Omnicom Group's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Omnicom Group's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 8.5% average in the Media industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how Omnicom Group compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NYSE:OMC Past Revenue and Net Income, June 24th 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 Omnicom Group.

Do Omnicom Group's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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.

Omnicom Group has total liabilities of US$15b and total assets of US$25b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 59% of its total assets. Omnicom Group has a relatively high level of current liabilities, boosting its ROCE meaningfully.

Our Take On Omnicom Group's ROCE

The ROCE would not look as appealing if the company had fewer current liabilities. Omnicom Group looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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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.