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Here's What Cloetta AB (publ)'s (STO:CLA B) ROCE Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Cloetta AB (publ) (STO:CLA B) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. 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 is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Cloetta:

0.11 = kr691m ÷ (kr9.7b - kr3.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Cloetta has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Cloetta

Does Cloetta Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Cloetta's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 8.3% average in the Food industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Cloetta sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

In our analysis, Cloetta's ROCE appears to be 11%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 8.6%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can see in the image below how Cloetta's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

OM:CLA B Past Revenue and Net Income, January 13th 2020

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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.

Cloetta's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Cloetta has total assets of kr9.7b and current liabilities of kr3.3b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 34% of its total assets. Cloetta has a middling amount of current liabilities, increasing its ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Cloetta's ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. There might be better investments than Cloetta out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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

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.