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Evaluating Groupe Guillin S.A.’s (EPA:ALGIL) Investments In Its Business

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Groupe Guillin S.A. (EPA:ALGIL) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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'.

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 Groupe Guillin:

0.11 = €54m ÷ (€642m - €165m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Groupe Guillin has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Groupe Guillin

Does Groupe Guillin Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Groupe Guillin's ROCE is fairly close to the Packaging industry average of 11%. Regardless of where Groupe Guillin sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

Groupe Guillin's current ROCE of 11% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 16%, 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. You can see in the image below how Groupe Guillin's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ENXTPA:ALGIL Past Revenue and Net Income, October 19th 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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

Groupe Guillin has total assets of €642m and current liabilities of €165m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Groupe Guillin's ROCE

Overall, Groupe Guillin has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Groupe Guillin 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.

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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.