# What Should Investors Know About LeMaitre Vascular Inc’s (NASDAQ:LMAT) Capital Returns?

This article is intended for those of you who are at the beginning of your investing journey and want a simplistic look at the return on LeMaitre Vascular Inc (NASDAQ:LMAT) stock.

Buying LeMaitre Vascular makes you a partial owner of the company. 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. This is because the actual cash flow generated by the business dictates the potential for income (dividends) and capital appreciation (price increases), which are the two ways to achieve positive returns when buying a stock. To understand LeMaitre Vascular’s capital returns we will look at a useful metric called return on capital employed. This will tell us if the company is growing your capital and placing you in good stead to sell your shares at a profit.

### Calculating Return On Capital Employed for LMAT

When you choose to invest in a company, there is an opportunity cost because that money could’ve been invested elsewhere. Therefore all else aside, your investment in a certain company represents a vote of confidence that the money used to buy the stock will grow larger than if invested elsewhere. So the business’ ability to grow the size of your capital is very important and can be assessed by comparing the return on capital you can get on your investment with a hurdle rate that depends on the other return possibilities you can identify. A good metric to use is return on capital employed (ROCE), which helps us gauge how much income can be created from the funds needed to operate the business. This metric will tell us if LeMaitre Vascular is good at growing investor capital. I have calculated LeMaitre Vascular’s ROCE for you below:

ROCE Calculation for LMAT

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

Capital Employed = (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

∴ ROCE = US\$22.49m ÷ (US\$137.10m – US\$13.12m) = 18.14%

The calculation above shows that LMAT’s earnings were 18.14% of capital employed. This makes LeMaitre Vascular 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.

### Not so fast

Although LeMaitre Vascular is in a favourable position, you should know that this could change if the company is unable to maintain a strong ROCE above the benchmark, which will depend on the behaviour of the underlying variables (EBT and capital employed). Because of this, it is important to look beyond the final value of LMAT’s ROCE and understand what is happening to the individual components. If you go back three years, you’ll find that LMAT’s ROCE has increased from 13.18%. Similarly, the movement in the earnings variable shows a jump from US\$9.75m to US\$22.49m 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

ROCE for LMAT investors has grown in the last few years 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 is an ideal situation to be in, but return on capital employed is a static metric that should be looked at in conjunction with other fundamental indicators 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. 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 LMAT’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LMAT’s outlook.
2. Valuation: What is LMAT 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 LMAT 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.