U.S. markets close in 6 hours 27 minutes

Is Gattaca plc’s (LON:GATC) 20% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Gattaca plc (LON:GATC) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Gattaca:

0.20 = UK£12m ÷ (UK£131m - UK£71m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2019.)

So, Gattaca has an ROCE of 20%.

See our latest analysis for Gattaca

Is Gattaca's ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Gattaca's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 15% average in the Professional Services industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Gattaca's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

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

AIM:GATC Past Revenue and Net Income, February 23rd 2020

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. 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.

Do Gattaca's Current Liabilities Skew 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.

Gattaca has total assets of UK£131m and current liabilities of UK£71m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 54% of its total assets. Gattaca's high level of current liabilities boost the ROCE - but its ROCE is still impressive.

What We Can Learn From Gattaca's ROCE

So to us, the company is potentially worth investigating further. Gattaca 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.

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.