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Inghams Group Limited (ASX:ING) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Inghams Group Limited (ASX:ING) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. 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 measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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 Inghams Group:

0.23 = AU$143m ÷ (AU$1.1b - AU$490m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Inghams Group has an ROCE of 23%.

Check out our latest analysis for Inghams Group

Does Inghams Group Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Inghams Group's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.7% average in the Food industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Inghams Group's ROCE is currently very good.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Inghams Group's past growth compares to other companies.

ASX:ING Past Revenue and Net Income, August 23rd 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 Inghams Group's 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.

Inghams Group has total liabilities of AU$490m and total assets of AU$1.1b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 44% of its total assets. Inghams Group has a medium level of current liabilities, boosting its ROCE somewhat.

What We Can Learn From Inghams Group's ROCE

Even so, it has a great ROCE, and could be an attractive prospect for further research. Inghams Group 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.