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What Can We Make Of InnoTek Limited’s (SGX:M14) High Return On Capital?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Today we'll evaluate InnoTek Limited (SGX:M14) 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 of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 InnoTek:

0.072 = S$13m ÷ (S$245m - S$61m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, InnoTek has an ROCE of 7.2%.

See our latest analysis for InnoTek

Does InnoTek Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. InnoTek's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 5.7% average in the Machinery 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. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, InnoTek'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.

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

SGX:M14 Past Revenue and Net Income May 19th 2020
SGX:M14 Past Revenue and Net Income May 19th 2020

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. If InnoTek is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect InnoTek'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 the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

InnoTek has total assets of S$245m and current liabilities of S$61m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 25% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On InnoTek's ROCE

If InnoTek continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. You might be able to find a better investment than InnoTek. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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

Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.