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Should You Like Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:CETV) High Return On Capital Employed?

Devin Koller

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Today we’ll evaluate Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (NASDAQ:CETV) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 Central European Media Enterprises:

0.11 = US$130m ÷ (US$1.5b – US$163m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Central European Media Enterprises has an ROCE of 11%.

See our latest analysis for Central European Media Enterprises

Does Central European Media Enterprises Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Central European Media Enterprises’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 8.2% average in the Media industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of where Central European Media Enterprises sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

NASDAQGS:CETV Last Perf February 5th 19

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, 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 Central European Media Enterprises.

Do Central European Media Enterprises’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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Central European Media Enterprises has total liabilities of US$163m and total assets of US$1.5b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 11% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Central European Media Enterprises’s ROCE

With that in mind, Central European Media Enterprises’s ROCE appears pretty good. You might be able to find a better buy than Central European Media Enterprises. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.