IDEX Corporation (NYSE:IEX): Why Return On Capital Employed Is Important

This article is intended for those of you who are at the beginning of your investing journey and want a simplistic look at the return on IDEX Corporation (NYSE:IEX) stock.

Purchasing IDEX gives you an ownership stake in the company. This share represents a portion of capital used by the company to operate the business, and it is important the company is able to use the capital base efficiently to create adequate cash flows for you as an investor. Your return is tied to IEX’s ability to do this because the amount earned is used to invest in opportunities to grow the business or payout dividends, which are the two sources of return on investment. Thus, to understand how your money can grow by investing in IDEX, you need to look at what the company returns to owners for the use of their capital, which can be done in many ways but today we will use return on capital employed (ROCE).

See our latest analysis for IDEX

What is Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)?

Choosing to invest in IDEX comes at the cost of investing in another potentially favourable company. Accordingly, before you invest you need to assess the capital returns that the company has produced with reference to a certain benchmark to ensure that you are confident in the business’ ability to grow your capital at a level that grants an investment over other companies. To determine IDEX’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). I have calculated IDEX’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for IEX

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US$525m ÷ (US$3.5b – US$347m) = 17%

IEX’s 17% ROCE means that for every $100 you invest, the company creates $16.7. This makes IDEX satisfactorily profitable when compared to a robust 15% ROCE yardstick. So if this rate continues in to the future and is able to either provide solid dividends or reinvestment opportunities, your capital will enlarge at a favourable rate over time.

NYSE:IEX Last Perf October 23rd 18
NYSE:IEX Last Perf October 23rd 18

Can any of this change?

IEX is efficient with the use of capital, but this is only the case if IEX continues to maintain the presently healthy ROCE, which will change if the company either earns less or requires more capital to create earnings. So it is important for investors to understand what is going on under the hood and look at how these variables have been behaving. Looking three years in the past, it is evident that IEX’s ROCE has risen from 15%, indicating the company’s capital returns have stengthened. We can see that earnings have increased from US$396m to US$525m whilst the amount of capital employed also grew but by a proportionally lesser volume, which suggests the larger ROCE is due to a growth in earnings relative to capital requirements.

Next Steps

IEX’s investors have enjoyed an upward trend in ROCE and it is currently at a level that makes the company an attractive candidate that is capable of producing solid capital returns, and hence, an attractive return on investment. This makes the company an attractive place to put your money, but ROCE does not tell the whole picture so you need to pay attention to other fundamentals like future prospects and valuation. It’s important to account for these factors because you cannot be sure if this trend will continue or if you are getting a good deal for the future returns you are paying for. If you’re interested in diving deeper, take a look at what I’ve linked below for further information on these fundamentals and other potential investment opportunities.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for IEX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for IEX’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is IEX worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even if its ROCE is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether IEX is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.