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Here's What Weibo Corporation's (NASDAQ:WB) ROCE Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Weibo Corporation (NASDAQ:WB) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is 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. 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?

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 Weibo:

0.21 = US$630m ÷ (US$3.7b - US$737m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Weibo has an ROCE of 21%.

View our latest analysis for Weibo

Does Weibo Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Weibo's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 8.7% average in the Interactive Media and Services 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, Weibo's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

Our data shows that Weibo currently has an ROCE of 21%, compared to its ROCE of 11% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can see in the image below how Weibo's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGS:WB Past Revenue and Net Income, November 1st 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Weibo.

Weibo'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 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.

Weibo has total liabilities of US$737m and total assets of US$3.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 20% 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 Weibo's ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making Weibo look quite interesting. Weibo looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

I will like Weibo 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.