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Here's What Sangoma Technologies Corporation's (CVE:STC) ROCE Can Tell Us

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Sangoma Technologies Corporation (CVE:STC) 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. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. 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'.

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 Sangoma Technologies:

0.088 = CA$5.9m ÷ (CA$95m - CA$28m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Sangoma Technologies has an ROCE of 8.8%.

View our latest analysis for Sangoma Technologies

Is Sangoma Technologies's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, Sangoma Technologies's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 6.5% average in the Communications industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Sangoma Technologies's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

In our analysis, Sangoma Technologies's ROCE appears to be 8.8%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 4.6%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can see in the image below how Sangoma Technologies's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

TSXV:STC Past Revenue and Net Income, September 2nd 2019

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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. 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 Sangoma Technologies's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Sangoma Technologies has total liabilities of CA$28m and total assets of CA$95m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 30% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

What We Can Learn From Sangoma Technologies's ROCE

That said, Sangoma Technologies's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.