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Shareholders Should Look Hard At Roper Technologies, Inc.’s (NYSE:ROP) 10% Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Roper Technologies, Inc. ( NYSE:ROP ) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. 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 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.'

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 Roper Technologies:

0.10 = US$1.5b ÷ (US$16b - US$1.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Roper Technologies has an ROCE of 10%.

See our latest analysis for Roper Technologies

Does Roper Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, Roper Technologies's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 14% average reported by the Industrials industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Roper Technologies's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

You can see in the image below how Roper Technologies's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:ROP Past Revenue and Net Income, August 25th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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 Roper Technologies .

Roper Technologies'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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Roper Technologies has total assets of US$16b and current liabilities of US$1.4b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 9.1% of its total assets. Roper Technologies reports few current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its unremarkable ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Roper Technologies's ROCE

If performance improves, then Roper Technologies may be an OK investment, especially at the right valuation. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Roper Technologies . So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.