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Masco Corporation (NYSE:MAS) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Masco Corporation (NYSE:MAS) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Masco:

0.34 = US$1.3b ÷ (US$5.7b - US$2.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Masco has an ROCE of 34%.

View our latest analysis for Masco

Does Masco Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Masco's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 12% average in the Building industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Masco's ROCE is currently very good.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Masco's past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:MAS Past Revenue and Net Income, September 2nd 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, 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.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Masco's ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Masco has total liabilities of US$2.0b and total assets of US$5.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 35% of its total assets. Masco's ROCE is boosted somewhat by its middling amount of current liabilities.

Our Take On Masco's ROCE

Still, it has a high ROCE, and may be an interesting prospect for further research. Masco 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.