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Should GYP Properties Limited’s (SGX:AWS) Weak Investment Returns Worry You?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll evaluate GYP Properties Limited (SGX:AWS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

Or for GYP Properties:

0.02 = S$3.4m ÷ (S$189m - S$22m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, GYP Properties has an ROCE of 2.0%.

View our latest analysis for GYP Properties

Is GYP Properties's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, GYP Properties's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 10% average in the Consumer Retailing industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Independently of how GYP Properties compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.3% available in government bonds. It is likely that there are more attractive prospects out there.

GYP Properties's current ROCE of 2.0% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 5.1% ROCE. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

SGX:AWS Past Revenue and Net Income, June 5th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. You can check if GYP Properties has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

GYP Properties'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.

GYP Properties has total liabilities of S$22m and total assets of S$189m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 12% of its total assets. This is not a high level of current liabilities, which would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On GYP Properties's ROCE

While that is good to see, GYP Properties has a low ROCE and does not look attractive in this analysis. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than GYP Properties. 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).

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.