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Here’s What Blue Dart Express Limited’s (NSE:BLUEDART) Return On Capital Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Blue Dart Express Limited (NSE:BLUEDART) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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'.

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 Blue Dart Express:

0.15 = ₹1.6b ÷ (₹18b - ₹7.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Blue Dart Express has an ROCE of 15%.

See our latest analysis for Blue Dart Express

Does Blue Dart Express Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Blue Dart Express's ROCE is around the 17% average reported by the Logistics industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Blue Dart Express's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

Blue Dart Express's current ROCE of 15% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 33% ROCE. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently. You can see in the image below how Blue Dart Express's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NSEI:BLUEDART Past Revenue and Net Income, October 13th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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.

Do Blue Dart Express's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Blue Dart Express has total assets of ₹18b and current liabilities of ₹7.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 43% of its total assets. Blue Dart Express's ROCE is improved somewhat by its moderate amount of current liabilities.

The Bottom Line On Blue Dart Express's ROCE

Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.

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.