Is Wolverine World Wide, Inc.’s (NYSE:WWW) 14% ROCE Any Good?

Today we’ll look at Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from 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. 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?

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 Wolverine World Wide:

0.14 = US$224m ÷ (US$2.5b – US$834m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Wolverine World Wide has an ROCE of 14%.

Check out our latest analysis for Wolverine World Wide

Does Wolverine World Wide Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Wolverine World Wide’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 11% average in the Luxury industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Wolverine World Wide sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

We can see that, Wolverine World Wide currently has an ROCE of 14% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 10%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can see in the image below how Wolverine World Wide’s ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:WWW Past Revenue and Net Income, January 16th 2020
NYSE:WWW Past Revenue and Net Income, January 16th 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Wolverine World Wide.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Wolverine World Wide’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Wolverine World Wide has total assets of US$2.5b and current liabilities of US$834m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 34% of its total assets. Wolverine World Wide has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Wolverine World Wide’s ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Wolverine World Wide 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.

I will like Wolverine World Wide better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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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