Today we’ll evaluate Auto Partner SA (WSE:APR) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.
First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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’.
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 Auto Partner:
0.16 = zł82m ÷ (zł716m – zł217m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
So, Auto Partner has an ROCE of 16%.
Does Auto Partner Have A Good ROCE?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see Auto Partner’s ROCE is around the 14% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. Separate from Auto Partner’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.
The image below shows how Auto Partner’s ROCE compares to its industry.
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 Auto Partner.
Do Auto Partner’s Current Liabilities Skew 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.
Auto Partner has total assets of zł716m and current liabilities of zł217m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 30% of its total assets. Auto Partner has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.
Our Take On Auto Partner’s ROCE
With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Auto Partner 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.
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 email@example.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.
These great dividend stocks are beating your savings account
Not only have these stocks been reliable dividend payers for the last 10 years but with the yield over 3% they are also easily beating your savings account (let alone the possible capital gains). Click here to see them for FREE on Simply Wall St.