Shareholders Should Look Hard At TTM Technologies, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TTMI) 5.9% Return On Capital

Today we’ll look at TTM Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTMI) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

What is 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. 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?

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 TTM Technologies:

0.059 = US$167m ÷ (US$3.4b – US$608m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2019.)

So, TTM Technologies has an ROCE of 5.9%.

View our latest analysis for TTM Technologies

Is TTM Technologies’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, TTM Technologies’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 12% average in the Electronic industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, TTM Technologies’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

NasdaqGS:TTMI Past Revenue and Net Income, July 31st 2019
NasdaqGS:TTMI Past Revenue and Net Income, July 31st 2019

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 TTM Technologies’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. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

TTM Technologies has total liabilities of US$608m and total assets of US$3.4b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 18% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On TTM Technologies’s ROCE

If TTM Technologies continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than TTM Technologies. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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

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.