Should You Care About Melco International Development Limited’s (HKG:200) Investment Potential?

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Today we are going to look at Melco International Development Limited (HKG:200) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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?

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 Melco International Development:

0.049 = HK$3.6b ÷ (HK$98b – HK$15b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

So, Melco International Development has an ROCE of 4.9%.

See our latest analysis for Melco International Development

Is Melco International Development’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. It appears that Melco International Development’s ROCE is fairly close to the Hospitality industry average of 5.2%. Putting aside Melco International Development’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor – considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

Melco International Development has an ROCE of 4.9%, but it didn’t have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. That suggests the business has returned to profitability.

SEHK:200 Past Revenue and Net Income, February 20th 2019
SEHK:200 Past Revenue and Net Income, February 20th 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 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do Melco International Development’s Current Liabilities Skew 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.

Melco International Development has total assets of HK$98b and current liabilities of HK$15b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 15% of its total assets. This is not a high level of current liabilities, which would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On Melco International Development’s ROCE

That’s not a bad thing, however Melco International Development has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. But note: Melco International Development may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

I will like Melco International Development 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.