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Why Vishay Precision Group, Inc.’s (NYSE:VPG) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Brandon Murphy

Today we’ll look at Vishay Precision Group, Inc. ( NYSE:VPG ) 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.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. 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.’

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 Vishay Precision Group:

0.14 = US$24m ÷ (US$322m – US$51m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Vishay Precision Group has an ROCE of 14%.

View our latest analysis for Vishay Precision Group

Is Vishay Precision Group’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Vishay Precision Group’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 11% average in the Electronic industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Separate from Vishay Precision Group’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

In our analysis, Vishay Precision Group’s ROCE appears to be 14%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 4.9%. This makes us think the business might be improving.

NYSE:VPG Last Perf January 28th 19

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during 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 Vishay Precision Group .

Do Vishay Precision Group’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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.

Vishay Precision Group has total assets of US$322m and current liabilities of US$51m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Vishay Precision Group’s ROCE

Overall, Vishay Precision Group has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. 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.

I will like Vishay Precision Group better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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 .