Should You Like AptarGroup, Inc.’s (NYSE:ATR) High Return On Capital Employed?

Today we’ll look at AptarGroup, Inc. (NYSE:ATR) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the 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. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed 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.

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 AptarGroup:

0.15 = US$411m ÷ (US$3.5b – US$649m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, AptarGroup has an ROCE of 15%.

Check out our latest analysis for AptarGroup

Does AptarGroup Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. AptarGroup’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 9.7% average in the Packaging industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how AptarGroup compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

The image below shows how AptarGroup’s ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:ATR Past Revenue and Net Income, January 20th 2020
NYSE:ATR Past Revenue and Net Income, January 20th 2020

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the 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 AptarGroup.

How AptarGroup’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

AptarGroup has total assets of US$3.5b and current liabilities of US$649m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 19% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On AptarGroup’s ROCE

Overall, AptarGroup has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. AptarGroup 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.

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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.

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. Thank you for reading.