Should Addus HomeCare Corporation’s (NASDAQ:ADUS) Weak Investment Returns Worry You?

January 21, 2019
  •  Updated
August 18, 2022
NasdaqGS:ADUS
Source: Shutterstock

Today we'll evaluate Addus HomeCare Corporation (NASDAQ:ADUS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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 measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Addus HomeCare:

0.078 = US$26m ÷ (US$431m - US$62m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Addus HomeCare has an ROCE of 7.8%.

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Does Addus HomeCare Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Addus HomeCare's ROCE is meaningfully below the Healthcare industry average of 13%. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Separate from how Addus HomeCare stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

Addus HomeCare's current ROCE of 7.8% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 13% ROCE. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NasdaqGS:ADUS Last Perf January 21st 19
NasdaqGS:ADUS Last Perf January 21st 19

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our freereport on analyst forecasts for Addus HomeCare.

How Addus HomeCare'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. 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.

Addus HomeCare has total liabilities of US$62m and total assets of US$431m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.

Our Take On Addus HomeCare's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with Addus HomeCare's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this freelist of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

I will like Addus HomeCare better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this freelist of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.

Simply Wall St analyst Simply Wall St and Simply Wall St have no position in any of the companies mentioned. This article is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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About NasdaqGS:ADUS

Addus HomeCare

Addus HomeCare Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides personal care services to elderly, chronically ill, disabled persons, and individuals who are at risk of hospitalization or institutionalization in the United States.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation2
Future Growth2
Past Performance4
Financial Health5
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Excellent balance sheet with proven track record.