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Today we'll look at Beiersdorf Aktiengesellschaft (ETR:BEI) 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, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its 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.'
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 Beiersdorf:
0.17 = €1.1b ÷ (€8.9b - €2.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, Beiersdorf has an ROCE of 17%.
Does Beiersdorf Have A Good ROCE?
ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Beiersdorf's ROCE is fairly close to the Personal Products industry average of 14%. Regardless of where Beiersdorf sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.
You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Beiersdorf's past growth compares to other companies.
When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Beiersdorf.
Beiersdorf's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.
Beiersdorf has total assets of €8.9b and current liabilities of €2.4b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.
Our Take On Beiersdorf's ROCE
This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Beiersdorf could be worth a closer look. Beiersdorf 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.