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Hotel Properties Limited (SGX:H15) Might Not Be A Great Investment

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Hotel Properties Limited (SGX:H15) and reflect on its potential as an investment. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 Hotel Properties:

0.025 = S$73m ÷ (S$3.3b - S$363m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Hotel Properties has an ROCE of 2.5%.

View our latest analysis for Hotel Properties

Does Hotel Properties Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In this analysis, Hotel Properties's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 7.4% average reported by the Hospitality industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Putting aside Hotel Properties's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor - considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. There are potentially more appealing investments elsewhere.

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

SGX:H15 Past Revenue and Net Income, September 26th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. If Hotel Properties is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Hotel 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. 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.

Hotel Properties has total assets of S$3.3b and current liabilities of S$363m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 11% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Hotel Properties's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however Hotel Properties has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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.