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Kering SA (EPA:KER) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Kering SA (EPA:KER) 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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?

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 Kering:

0.25 = €4.4b ÷ (€26b - €8.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Kering has an ROCE of 25%.

Check out our latest analysis for Kering

Is Kering's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Kering's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 9.4% average in the Luxury industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Kering's ROCE is currently very good.

In our analysis, Kering's ROCE appears to be 25%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 8.8%. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can see in the image below how Kering's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ENXTPA:KER Past Revenue and Net Income, October 21st 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Kering.

Kering's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

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

Kering has total assets of €26b and current liabilities of €8.7b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 33% of its total assets. Kering's ROCE is boosted somewhat by its middling amount of current liabilities.

Our Take On Kering's ROCE

Still, it has a high ROCE, and may be an interesting prospect for further research. Kering shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.