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Is dotdigital Group Plc’s (LON:DOTD) 25% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate dotdigital Group Plc (LON:DOTD) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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.'

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 dotdigital Group:

0.25 = UK£10m ÷ (UK£51m - UK£10m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, dotdigital Group has an ROCE of 25%.

See our latest analysis for dotdigital Group

Is dotdigital Group's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, dotdigital Group's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Software industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, dotdigital Group's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

AIM:DOTD Past Revenue and Net Income, May 3rd 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 deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

dotdigital Group's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

dotdigital Group has total liabilities of UK£10m and total assets of UK£51m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 20% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won't have much impact on the already great ROCE.

The Bottom Line On dotdigital Group's ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making dotdigital Group look quite interesting. dotdigital Group looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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.