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Evaluating Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s (NYSE:NCLH) Investments In Its Business

Simply Wall St

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Today we are going to look at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:NCLH) 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.

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.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from 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.'

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 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings:

0.10 = US$1.2b ÷ (US$15b - US$3.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has an ROCE of 10%.

See our latest analysis for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Does Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings's ROCE appears to be around the 10% average of the Hospitality industry. Separate from how Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Our data shows that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings currently has an ROCE of 10%, compared to its ROCE of 7.3% 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

NYSE:NCLH Past Revenue and Net Income, April 6th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has total liabilities of US$3.2b and total assets of US$15b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 21% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings's ROCE

That said, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. You might be able to find a better buy than Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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.