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What Can We Learn From Tubi Limited’s (ASX:2BE) Investment Returns?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Tubi Limited (ASX:2BE) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Tubi:

0.09 = AU$2.1m ÷ (AU$30m - AU$6.6m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Tubi has an ROCE of 9.0%.

View our latest analysis for Tubi

Is Tubi's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Tubi's ROCE is fairly close to the Oil and Gas industry average of 11%. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Tubi's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

The image below shows how Tubi's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

ASX:2BE Past Revenue and Net Income, September 12th 2019

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. We note Tubi could be considered a cyclical business. If Tubi is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Tubi'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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Tubi has total liabilities of AU$6.6m and total assets of AU$30m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 22% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On Tubi's ROCE

If Tubi continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. You might be able to find a better investment than Tubi. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.