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Should You Worry About Commvault Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CVLT) ROCE?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Commvault Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CVLT) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. 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. 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?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

Or for Commvault Systems:

0.064 = US$30m ÷ (US$793m - US$320m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Commvault Systems has an ROCE of 6.4%.

View our latest analysis for Commvault Systems

Is Commvault Systems's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In this analysis, Commvault Systems's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 9.8% average reported by the Software industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from how Commvault Systems stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

We can see that, Commvault Systems currently has an ROCE of 6.4% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 1.1%. This makes us think the business might be improving. The image below shows how Commvault Systems's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:CVLT Past Revenue and Net Income, October 7th 2019

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 Commvault Systems.

Commvault Systems's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Commvault Systems has total liabilities of US$320m and total assets of US$793m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 40% of its total assets. Commvault Systems's ROCE is improved somewhat by its moderate amount of current liabilities.

Our Take On Commvault Systems's ROCE

Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Commvault Systems. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.