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A Close Look At Edwards Lifesciences Corporation’s (NYSE:EW) 23% ROCE

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Edwards Lifesciences Corporation (NYSE:EW) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First, we'll go over how we 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.

What is 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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?

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 Edwards Lifesciences:

0.23 = US$1.2b ÷ (US$6.0b - US$776m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Edwards Lifesciences has an ROCE of 23%.

View our latest analysis for Edwards Lifesciences

Does Edwards Lifesciences Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Edwards Lifesciences's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.4% average in the Medical Equipment 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. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Edwards Lifesciences's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

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

NYSE:EW Past Revenue and Net Income, November 15th 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Edwards Lifesciences.

How Edwards Lifesciences's Current Liabilities Impact Its 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.

Edwards Lifesciences has total liabilities of US$776m and total assets of US$6.0b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Edwards Lifesciences's ROCE

, Edwards Lifesciences shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

I will like Edwards Lifesciences 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.