Today we'll evaluate Cofidur S.A. (EPA:ALCOF) 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, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.'
How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?
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 Cofidur:
0.039 = €1.3m ÷ (€51m - €19m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, Cofidur has an ROCE of 3.9%.
Is Cofidur's ROCE Good?
When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In this analysis, Cofidur's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 8.8% average reported by the Electronic industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Cofidur's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.
We can see that , Cofidur currently has an ROCE of 3.9%, less than the 10% it reported 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. The image below shows how Cofidur'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. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. You can check if Cofidur has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Cofidur's ROCE?
Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.
Cofidur has total assets of €51m and current liabilities of €19m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 37% of its total assets. Cofidur has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.
The Bottom Line On Cofidur's ROCE
Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
I will like Cofidur better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.