# Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC): Assessing Capital Returns

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and looking to gauge the potential return on investment in Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC).

If you purchase a BRC share you are effectively becoming a partner with many other shareholders. This share represents a portion of capital used by the company to operate the business, and it is important the company is able to use the capital base efficiently to create adequate cash flows for you as an investor. Your return is tied to BRC’s ability to do this because the amount earned is used to invest in opportunities to grow the business or payout dividends, which are the two sources of return on investment. Thus, to understand how your money can grow by investing in Brady, you need to look at what the company returns to owners for the use of their capital, which can be done in many ways but today we will use return on capital employed (ROCE).

### Calculating Return On Capital Employed for BRC

As an investor you have many alternative companies to choose from, which means there is an opportunity cost in any investment you make in the form of a foregone investment in another company. Accordingly, before you invest you need to assess the capital returns that the company has produced with reference to a certain benchmark to ensure that you are confident in the business’ ability to grow your capital at a level that grants an investment over other companies. To determine Brady’s capital return we will use ROCE, which tells us how much the company makes from the capital employed in their operations (for things like machinery, wages etc). Take a look at the formula box beneath:

ROCE Calculation for BRC

Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) = Earnings Before Tax (EBT) ÷ (Capital Employed)

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US\$157m ÷ (US\$1.1b – US\$182m) = 18%

The calculation above shows that BRC’s earnings were 18% of capital employed. This makes Brady satisfactorily profitable when compared to a robust 15% ROCE yardstick. So if this rate continues in to the future and is able to either provide solid dividends or reinvestment opportunities, your capital will enlarge at a favourable rate over time.

### Before moving forward

Brady’s relatively strong ROCE is tied to the movement in two factors that change over time: earnings and capital requirements. At the moment Brady is in a favourable position, but this can change if these factors underperform. Therefore, investors need to be confident in the trend of the inputs in the formula above, so that Brady will continue the solid returns. Looking three years in the past, it is evident that BRC’s ROCE has risen from 11%, indicating the company’s capital returns have stengthened. Similarly, the movement in the earnings variable shows a jump from US\$89m to US\$157m whilst the amount of capital employed also grew but by a proportionally lesser volume, which suggests the larger ROCE is due to a growth in earnings relative to capital requirements.

### Next Steps

Brady’s ROCE has increased in the recent past and is currently at a level that makes the company an attractive candidate that is capable of producing solid capital returns, and hence, an attractive return on investment. This makes the company an attractive place to put your money, but ROCE does not tell the whole picture so you need to pay attention to other fundamentals like future prospects and valuation. It’s important to account for these factors because you cannot be sure if this trend will continue or if you are getting a good deal for the future returns you are paying for. Brady’s fundamentals can be explored with the links I’ve provided below if you are interested, otherwise you can start looking at other high-performing stocks.

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BRC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BRC’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is BRC worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even if its ROCE is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether BRC is currently mispriced by the market.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.