Should You Like Johnson Outdoors Inc.’s (NASDAQ:JOUT) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Today we’ll look at Johnson Outdoors Inc. (NASDAQ:JOUT) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. 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 Johnson Outdoors:

0.21 = US$62m ÷ (US$391m – US$89m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Johnson Outdoors has an ROCE of 21%.

Check out our latest analysis for Johnson Outdoors

Does Johnson Outdoors Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Johnson Outdoors’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 16% average in the Leisure industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Independently of how Johnson Outdoors compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

In our analysis, Johnson Outdoors’s ROCE appears to be 21%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 9.6%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NasdaqGS:JOUT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 3rd 2019
NasdaqGS:JOUT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 3rd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Johnson Outdoors.

How Johnson Outdoors’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.

Johnson Outdoors has total liabilities of US$89m and total assets of US$391m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 23% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Johnson Outdoors’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Johnson Outdoors could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Johnson Outdoors out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.