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Does Aéroports de Paris SA’s (EPA:ADP) ROCE Reflect Well On The Business?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Aéroports de Paris SA (EPA:ADP) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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'.

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 Aéroports de Paris:

0.078 = €1.1b ÷ (€17b - €2.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Aéroports de Paris has an ROCE of 7.8%.

View our latest analysis for Aéroports de Paris

Is Aéroports de Paris's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Aéroports de Paris's ROCE is fairly close to the Infrastructure industry average of 8.9%. Separate from how Aéroports de Paris 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.

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

ENXTPA:ADP Past Revenue and Net Income, December 2nd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Aéroports de Paris.

How Aéroports de Paris's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Aéroports de Paris has total liabilities of €2.5b and total assets of €17b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 15% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Aéroports de Paris's ROCE

If Aéroports de Paris continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Aéroports de Paris. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.