Today we'll look at China New Higher Education Group Limited (HKG:2001) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 China New Higher Education Group:
0.089 = CN¥344m ÷ (CN¥5.2b - CN¥1.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
So, China New Higher Education Group has an ROCE of 8.9%.
Is China New Higher Education Group's ROCE Good?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, China New Higher Education Group's ROCE appears to be around the 10% average of the Consumer Services industry. Separate from how China New Higher Education Group stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.
You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how China New Higher Education Group's past growth compares to other companies.
When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for China New Higher Education Group.
China New Higher Education Group's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE
Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.
China New Higher Education Group has total liabilities of CN¥1.3b and total assets of CN¥5.2b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 25% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.
Our Take On China New Higher Education Group's ROCE
That said, China New Higher Education Group's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. You might be able to find a better investment than China New Higher Education Group. 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).
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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.