Shareholders Should Look Hard At Under Armour, Inc.’s (NYSE:UAA) 5.9% Return On Capital

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Today we are going to look at Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UAA) 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 up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that ‘one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar’.

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 Under Armour:

0.059 = US$198m ÷ (US$4.4b – US$1.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Under Armour has an ROCE of 5.9%.

View our latest analysis for Under Armour

Does Under Armour Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, Under Armour’s ROCE appears meaningfully below the 12% average reported by the Luxury industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Separate from how Under Armour stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

We can see that , Under Armour currently has an ROCE of 5.9%, less than the 16% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently.

NYSE:UAA Past Revenue and Net Income, July 17th 2019
NYSE:UAA Past Revenue and Net Income, July 17th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Under Armour.

Under Armour’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Under Armour has total assets of US$4.4b and current liabilities of US$1.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 25% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

What We Can Learn From Under Armour’s ROCE

If Under Armour continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.