Is TechTarget, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTGT) Better Than Average At Deploying Capital?

Today we are going to look at TechTarget, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTGT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 TechTarget:

0.10 = US$17m ÷ (US$176m – US$15m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, TechTarget has an ROCE of 10%.

View our latest analysis for TechTarget

Is TechTarget’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, TechTarget’s ROCE appears to be around the 9.1% average of the Media industry. Aside from the industry comparison, TechTarget’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

As we can see, TechTarget currently has an ROCE of 10% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 7.5%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NasdaqGM:TTGT Past Revenue and Net Income, April 23rd 2019
NasdaqGM:TTGT Past Revenue and Net Income, April 23rd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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 TechTarget.

Do TechTarget’s Current Liabilities Skew 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

TechTarget has total assets of US$176m and current liabilities of US$15m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 8.2% of its total assets. TechTarget reports few current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its unremarkable ROCE.

The Bottom Line On TechTarget’s ROCE

TechTarget looks like an ok business, but on this analysis it is not at the top of our buy list. You might be able to find a better investment than TechTarget. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

I will like TechTarget better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.