What Can We Learn From Rocky Brands, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:RCKY) Investment Returns?

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Today we are going to look at Rocky Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:RCKY) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

Firstly, 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.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since ‘No two businesses are exactly alike.’

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 Rocky Brands:

0.11 = US$18m ÷ (US$188m – US$25m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Rocky Brands has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Rocky Brands

Is Rocky Brands’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Rocky Brands’s ROCE is fairly close to the Luxury industry average of 12%. Separate from Rocky Brands’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

In our analysis, Rocky Brands’s ROCE appears to be 11%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 4.5%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NasdaqGS:RCKY Past Revenue and Net Income, July 19th 2019
NasdaqGS:RCKY Past Revenue and Net Income, July 19th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. 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.

How Rocky Brands’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Rocky Brands has total liabilities of US$25m and total assets of US$188m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 13% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Rocky Brands’s ROCE

With that in mind, Rocky Brands’s ROCE appears pretty good. There might be better investments than Rocky Brands 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.

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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.