Today we'll evaluate Century City International Holdings Limited (HKG:355) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.
Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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.
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 Century City International Holdings:
0.016 = HK$616m ÷ (HK$46b - HK$6.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
Therefore, Century City International Holdings has an ROCE of 1.6%.
Does Century City International Holdings Have A Good ROCE?
When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Century City International Holdings's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 5.0% average in the Hospitality industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Independently of how Century City International Holdings compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.0% available in government bonds. There are potentially more appealing investments elsewhere.
In our analysis, Century City International Holdings's ROCE appears to be 1.6%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 0.6%. This makes us think the business might be improving. The image below shows how Century City International Holdings's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.
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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. How cyclical is Century City International Holdings? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Century City International Holdings'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. 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.
Century City International Holdings has total liabilities of HK$6.9b and total assets of HK$46b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 15% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.
What We Can Learn From Century City International Holdings's ROCE
Century City International Holdings has a poor ROCE, and there may be better investment prospects out there. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Century City International Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.