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Should You Like Koda Ltd’s (SGX:BJZ) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Simply Wall St
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Today we'll evaluate Koda Ltd (SGX:BJZ) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from 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 Koda:

0.17 = US$6.5m ÷ (US$45m - US$6.5m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Koda has an ROCE of 17%.

View our latest analysis for Koda

Is Koda's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, Koda's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 13% average in the Consumer Durables industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Koda compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

Koda delivered an ROCE of 17%, which is better than 3 years ago, as was making losses back then. That suggests the business has returned to profitability. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Koda's past growth compares to other companies.

SGX:BJZ Past Revenue and Net Income, August 23rd 2019
SGX:BJZ Past Revenue and Net Income, August 23rd 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. If Koda is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Koda's Current Liabilities Impact Its 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 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.

Koda has total assets of US$45m and current liabilities of US$6.5m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Koda's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Koda could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Koda out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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

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.