Today we are going to look at Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ:PINC) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Premier:
0.18 = US$397m ÷ (US$2.6b – US$450m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)
Therefore, Premier has an ROCE of 18%.
Is Premier’s ROCE Good?
ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Premier’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 11% average in the Healthcare industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Premier sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.
The image below shows how Premier’s ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.
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 misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Premier’s 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.
Premier has total assets of US$2.6b and current liabilities of US$450m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 17% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.
What We Can Learn From Premier’s ROCE
Overall, Premier has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Premier shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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