Are ANSYS, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ANSS) High Returns Really That Great?

Today we’ll evaluate ANSYS, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANSS) 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.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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?

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 ANSYS:

0.13 = US$522m ÷ (US$4.8b – US$695m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, ANSYS has an ROCE of 13%.

View our latest analysis for ANSYS

Does ANSYS Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that ANSYS’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.9% average in the Software industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of where ANSYS 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 ANSYS’s ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqGS:ANSS Past Revenue and Net Income, March 20th 2020
NasdaqGS:ANSS Past Revenue and Net Income, March 20th 2020

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. 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.

Do ANSYS’s Current Liabilities Skew 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.

ANSYS has total assets of US$4.8b and current liabilities of US$695m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From ANSYS’s ROCE

With that in mind, ANSYS’s ROCE appears pretty good. ANSYS 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.

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 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.

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