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Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (SGX:C07) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Gavin Beck

Today we’ll evaluate Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (SGX:C07) 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Jardine Cycle & Carriage:

0.12 = US$1.8b ÷ (US$26b – US$9.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Jardine Cycle & Carriage has an ROCE of 12%.

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Is Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 4.7% average in the Retail Distributors industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Separate from Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

SGX:C07 Last Perf January 30th 19

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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Jardine Cycle & Carriage.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Jardine Cycle & Carriage has total liabilities of US$9.4b and total assets of US$26b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 37% of its total assets. Jardine Cycle & Carriage has a middling amount of current liabilities, increasing its ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. 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 like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.