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What Does Corelens S.A.’s (WSE:COR) 10% ROCE Say About The Business?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Corelens S.A. (WSE:COR) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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'.

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 Corelens:

0.10 = zł120k ÷ (zł1.9m - zł696k) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Corelens has an ROCE of 10%.

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Does Corelens Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Corelens's ROCE appears to be around the 12% average of the Medical Equipment industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Corelens'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.

Corelens has an ROCE of 10%, but it didn't have an ROCE 3 years ago, since it was unprofitable. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

WSE:COR Past Revenue and Net Income, May 15th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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. You can check if Corelens has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Corelens's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Corelens has total assets of zł1.9m and current liabilities of zł696k. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 38% of its total assets. Corelens has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Corelens's ROCE

Unfortunately, its ROCE is still uninspiring, and there are potentially more attractive prospects out there. 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).

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

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 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. Thank you for reading.