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Is CCL Industries Inc.’s (TSE:CCL.B) 12% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at CCL Industries Inc. (TSE:CCL.B) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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?

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 CCL Industries:

0.12 = CA$716m ÷ (CA$7.0b - CA$1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, CCL Industries has an ROCE of 12%.

See our latest analysis for CCL Industries

Does CCL Industries Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, CCL Industries's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.8% average in the Packaging industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how CCL Industries compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

You can see in the image below how CCL Industries's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

TSX:CCL.B Past Revenue and Net Income, October 15th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for CCL Industries.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect CCL Industries's ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.

CCL Industries has total liabilities of CA$1.2b and total assets of CA$7.0b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From CCL Industries's ROCE

Overall, CCL Industries has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. CCL Industries looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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

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.