Why OSI Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:OSIS) Return On Capital Employed Looks Uninspiring

Today we are going to look at OSI Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSIS) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the 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.

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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 OSI Systems:

0.11 = US$89m ÷ (US$1.3b – US$511m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, OSI Systems has an ROCE of 11%.

See our latest analysis for OSI Systems

Does OSI Systems Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see OSI Systems’s ROCE is around the 12% average reported by the Electronic industry. Regardless of where OSI Systems sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

NasdaqGS:OSIS Last Perf December 21st 18
NasdaqGS:OSIS Last Perf December 21st 18

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for OSI Systems.

OSI Systems’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

OSI Systems has total assets of US$1.3b and current liabilities of US$511m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 38% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, OSI Systems’s ROCE is boosted somewhat.

The Bottom Line On OSI Systems’s ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. A good or bad ROCE tells us something about a business, but we need to do more research before making a purchase. For example, I often check if insiders have been buying shares .

If you would prefer check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

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.