Should You Like Amphenol Corporation’s (NYSE:APH) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Today we’ll evaluate Amphenol Corporation (NYSE:APH) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First of all, we’ll work out how to 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 is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since ‘No two businesses are exactly alike.’

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 Amphenol:

0.22 = US$1.7b ÷ (US$10b – US$2.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Amphenol has an ROCE of 22%.

See our latest analysis for Amphenol

Is Amphenol’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Amphenol’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 11% average in the Electronic industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Amphenol’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

In our analysis, Amphenol’s ROCE appears to be 22%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 17%. This makes us think the business might be improving.

NYSE:APH Last Perf February 7th 19
NYSE:APH Last Perf February 7th 19

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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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

Amphenol has total assets of US$10b and current liabilities of US$2.5b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 24% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Amphenol’s ROCE

With low current liabilities and a high ROCE, Amphenol could be worthy of further investigation. 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.

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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.