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Why CryoLife, Inc.’s (NYSE:CRY) Return On Capital Employed Might Be A Concern

Today we'll evaluate CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE:CRY) 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. 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 CryoLife:

0.029 = US$16m ÷ (US$597m - US$37m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, CryoLife has an ROCE of 2.9%.

Check out our latest analysis for CryoLife

Is CryoLife's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, CryoLife's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 10.0% average in the Medical Equipment industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Independently of how CryoLife compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.7% available in government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

We can see that, CryoLife currently has an ROCE of 2.9%, less than the 7.8% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. The image below shows how CryoLife's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:CRY Past Revenue and Net Income, October 15th 2019
NYSE:CRY Past Revenue and Net Income, October 15th 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for CryoLife.

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

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

CryoLife has total assets of US$597m and current liabilities of US$37m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 6.3% of its total assets. CryoLife has a low level of current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its already low ROCE.

The Bottom Line On CryoLife's ROCE

Nevertheless, there are potentially more attractive companies to invest in. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than CryoLife. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

I will like CryoLife 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 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.

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