Why We Like Premier, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:PINC) 18% Return On Capital Employed

Today we are going to look at Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ:PINC) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE 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 is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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’.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Premier:

0.18 = US$382m ÷ (US$2.6b – US$458m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Premier has an ROCE of 18%.

View our latest analysis for Premier

Is Premier’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Premier’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 11% average in the Healthcare industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how Premier 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 Premier’s ROCE compares to its industry.

NasdaqGS:PINC Past Revenue and Net Income, October 22nd 2019
NasdaqGS:PINC Past Revenue and Net Income, October 22nd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Premier.

Premier’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. 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.

Premier has total liabilities of US$458m and total assets of US$2.6b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 18% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Premier’s ROCE

Overall, Premier has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Premier shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

I will like Premier 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.