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Why PVH Corp.’s (NYSE:PVH) Return On Capital Employed Looks Uninspiring

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate PVH Corp. (NYSE:PVH) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. 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.'

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 PVH:

0.089 = US$991m ÷ (US$13b - US$2.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2019.)

Therefore, PVH has an ROCE of 8.9%.

See our latest analysis for PVH

Is PVH's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In this analysis, PVH's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 12% average reported by the Luxury industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Separate from how PVH stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

You can see in the image below how PVH's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:PVH Past Revenue and Net Income, August 23rd 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for PVH.

How PVH's Current Liabilities Impact 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. 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.

PVH has total assets of US$13b and current liabilities of US$2.2b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 17% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On PVH's ROCE

That said, PVH's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. You might be able to find a better investment than PVH. 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 PVH better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.