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Is Danish Aerospace Company A/S (CPH:DAC) Struggling With Its 5.0% Return On Capital Employed?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Danish Aerospace Company A/S (CPH:DAC) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

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 Danish Aerospace:

0.05 = ø1.1m ÷ (ø25m - ø2.8m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Danish Aerospace has an ROCE of 5.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for Danish Aerospace

Is Danish Aerospace's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Danish Aerospace's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 9.8% average in the Aerospace & Defense industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Danish Aerospace's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

The image below shows how Danish Aerospace's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

CPSE:DAC Past Revenue and Net Income, December 9th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. If Danish Aerospace is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Danish Aerospace's Current Liabilities Skew Its 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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Danish Aerospace has total liabilities of ø2.8m and total assets of ø25m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 11% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

Our Take On Danish Aerospace's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with Danish Aerospace's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. 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).

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.

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. Thank you for reading.