Is Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) Investing Your Capital Efficiently?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

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 Callaway Golf:

0.089 = US$130m ÷ (US$1.9b - US$408m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Callaway Golf has an ROCE of 8.9%.

See our latest analysis for Callaway Golf

Does Callaway Golf Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Callaway Golf's ROCE is meaningfully below the Leisure industry average of 17%. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Callaway Golf'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.

We can see that, Callaway Golf currently has an ROCE of 8.9% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 5.9%. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can see in the image below how Callaway Golf's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:ELY Past Revenue and Net Income, January 23rd 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Callaway Golf.

Callaway Golf'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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Callaway Golf has total assets of US$1.9b and current liabilities of US$408m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 22% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Callaway Golf's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with Callaway Golf's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.