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Endava plc (NYSE:DAVA) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

David Owens

Today we’ll look at Endava plc (NYSE:DAVA) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of 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. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

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. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Endava:

0.20 = UK£27m ÷ (UK£187m – UK£47m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Endava has an ROCE of 20%.

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Is Endava’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Endava’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 10% average in the IT industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Separate from Endava’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

Endava’s current ROCE of 20% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 57%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NYSE:DAVA Last Perf January 17th 19

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Endava.

Endava’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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Endava has total assets of UK£187m and current liabilities of UK£47m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 25% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Endava’s ROCE

Overall, Endava has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Endava. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.