Are Balchem Corporation’s Returns On Capital Worth Investigating?

Today we’ll look at Balchem Corporation (NASDAQ:BCPC) and reflect on its potential as an investment. In particular, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the 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’.

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 Balchem:

0.12 = US$99m ÷ (US$986m – US$66m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Balchem has an ROCE of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Balchem

Does Balchem Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Balchem’s ROCE is fairly close to the Chemicals industry average of 12%. Independently of how Balchem compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NasdaqGS:BCPC Past Revenue and Net Income, March 1st 2019
NasdaqGS:BCPC Past Revenue and Net Income, March 1st 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Balchem.

Balchem’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Balchem has total assets of US$986m and current liabilities of US$66m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 6.7% of its total assets. In addition to low current liabilities (making a negligible impact on ROCE), Balchem earns a sound return on capital employed.

What We Can Learn From Balchem’s ROCE

This is good to see, and while better prospects may exist, Balchem seems worth researching further. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.