U.S. Markets closed

Croda International Plc (LON:CRDA) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Ray Foley

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today we’ll look at Croda International Plc (LON:CRDA) 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 of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed 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 Croda International:

0.22 = UK£323m ÷ (UK£1.8b – UK£287m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

Therefore, Croda International has an ROCE of 22%.

View our latest analysis for Croda International

Is Croda International’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Croda International’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 13% average in the Chemicals industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Croda International’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

LSE:CRDA Last Perf February 6th 19

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, 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 Croda International.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Croda International’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Croda International has total liabilities of UK£287m and total assets of UK£1.8b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 16% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

Our Take On Croda International’s ROCE

With low current liabilities and a high ROCE, Croda International could be worthy of further investigation. But note: Croda International may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.