U.S. markets close in 4 hours 45 minutes

What Does Esprinet S.p.A.’s (BIT:PRT) 8.1% ROCE Say About The Business?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Esprinet S.p.A. (BIT:PRT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is 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. 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?

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 Esprinet:

0.081 = €43m ÷ (€1.7b - €1.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Therefore, Esprinet has an ROCE of 8.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Esprinet

Does Esprinet Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Esprinet's ROCE appears to be around the 9.7% average of the Electronic industry. Separate from how Esprinet stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Esprinet's current ROCE of 8.1% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 11%, 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Esprinet's past growth compares to other companies.

BIT:PRT Past Revenue and Net Income April 10th 2020

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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 Esprinet.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Esprinet's 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.

Esprinet has current liabilities of €1.2b and total assets of €1.7b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 69% of its total assets. With a high level of current liabilities, Esprinet will experience a boost to its ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Esprinet's ROCE

Despite this, the company also has a uninspiring ROCE, which is not an ideal combination in this analysis. 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.