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What Can We Learn From Arvind Limited’s (NSE:ARVIND) Investment Returns?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Arvind Limited (NSE:ARVIND) 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. 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 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Arvind:

0.11 = ₹4.4b ÷ (₹73b - ₹34b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Arvind has an ROCE of 11%.

View our latest analysis for Arvind

Is Arvind's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Arvind's ROCE is around the 12% average reported by the Luxury industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Arvind'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.

Arvind's current ROCE of 11% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 19%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. The image below shows how Arvind's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NSEI:ARVIND Past Revenue and Net Income, October 4th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Arvind.

Do Arvind's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Arvind has total assets of ₹73b and current liabilities of ₹34b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 46% of its total assets. Arvind has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

What We Can Learn From Arvind's ROCE

Unfortunately, its ROCE is still uninspiring, and there are potentially more attractive prospects out there. 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).

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.