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Has AKKA Technologies SE (EPA:AKA) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at AKKA Technologies SE (EPA:AKA) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. 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 AKKA Technologies:

0.13 = €118m ÷ (€1.4b - €468m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, AKKA Technologies has an ROCE of 13%.

Check out our latest analysis for AKKA Technologies

Is AKKA Technologies's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see AKKA Technologies's ROCE is around the 15% average reported by the Professional Services industry. Independently of how AKKA Technologies compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

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

ENXTPA:AKA Past Revenue and Net Income, February 2nd 2020

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. 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 AKKA Technologies.

AKKA Technologies's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

AKKA Technologies has current liabilities of €468m and total assets of €1.4b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 34% of its total assets. AKKA Technologies has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.

What We Can Learn From AKKA Technologies's ROCE

While its ROCE looks good, it's worth remembering that the current liabilities are making the business look better. There might be better investments than AKKA Technologies out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.