U.S. Markets closed

Here’s What Baby Bunting Group Limited’s (ASX:BBN) Return On Capital Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Baby Bunting Group Limited (ASX:BBN) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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.

Firstly, 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 measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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 Baby Bunting Group:

0.19 = AU$20m ÷ (AU$159m - AU$54m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Baby Bunting Group has an ROCE of 19%.

See our latest analysis for Baby Bunting Group

Is Baby Bunting Group's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Baby Bunting Group's ROCE is around the 16% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. Separate from Baby Bunting Group's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

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

ASX:BBN Past Revenue and Net Income, December 21st 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Baby Bunting Group.

How Baby Bunting Group'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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Baby Bunting Group has total liabilities of AU$54m and total assets of AU$159m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 34% of its total assets. Baby Bunting Group has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.

Our Take On Baby Bunting Group's ROCE

While its ROCE looks good, it's worth remembering that the current liabilities are making the business look better. Baby Bunting Group 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.

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

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.