What Should Investors Know About Robert Half International Inc’s (NYSE:RHI) Return On Capital?

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to begin learning the link between Robert Half International Inc (NYSE:RHI)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

If you purchase a RHI share you are effectively becoming a partner with many other shareholders. Owing to this, it is important that the underlying business is producing a sufficient amount of income from the capital invested by stockholders. Your return is tied to RHI’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. Therefore, looking at how efficiently Robert Half International is able to use capital to create earnings will help us understand your potential return. Investors use many different metrics but the analysis below focuses on return on capital employed (ROCE). Let’s take a look at what it can tell us.

View our latest analysis for Robert Half International

Calculating Return On Capital Employed for RHI

You only have a finite amount of capital to invest, so there are only so many companies that you can add to your portfolio. 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 Robert Half International’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 RHI

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

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US$546.02m ÷ (US$1.93b – US$808.88m) = 48.55%

As you can see, RHI earned $48.5 from every $100 you invested over the previous twelve months. Comparing this to a healthy 15% benchmark shows Robert Half International is currently able to return a fantastic amount to owners for the use of their capital, which is a good sign for those who believe this will continue and the company’s management will find good uses for the earnings they create.

NYSE:RHI Last Perf August 13th 18
NYSE:RHI Last Perf August 13th 18

Not so fast

Robert Half International’s relatively strong ROCE is tied to the movement in two factors that change over time: earnings and capital requirements. At the moment Robert Half International 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 Robert Half International will continue the solid returns. Three years ago, RHI’s ROCE was 51.86%, which means the company’s capital returns have worsened. Over the same period, EBT went from US$549.09m to US$546.02m and capital employed has increased due to a rise in total assets employed , which means the company’s ROCE has shrunk as a result of falling earnings and simultaneous increases in capital requirements.

Next Steps

Despite RHI’s downward trend in ROCE in the recent past, the company still remains an attractive candidate that is capable of producing solid capital returns and a potentially strong return on investment. But don’t forget, return on capital employed is a static metric that should be looked at in conjunction with other fundamental indicators like future prospects and valuation. Without considering these fundamentals, you cannot be sure if the downward path is a signal to run, or just a blip in an otherwise solid return profile. If you’re interested in diving deeper, take a look at what I’ve linked below for further information on these fundamentals and other potential investment opportunities.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for RHI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for RHI’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is RHI 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 RHI 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.