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Should New Look Vision Group Inc.’s (TSE:BCI) Weak Investment Returns Worry You?

Armando Maloney

Today we’ll look at New Look Vision Group Inc. (TSE:BCI) 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. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested 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.’

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 New Look Vision Group:

0.097 = CA$26m ÷ (CA$372m – CA$69m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, New Look Vision Group has an ROCE of 9.7%.

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Is New Look Vision Group’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, New Look Vision Group’s ROCE appears to be around the 9.7% average of the Specialty Retail industry. Aside from the industry comparison, New Look Vision Group’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.

As we can see, New Look Vision Group currently has an ROCE of 9.7%, less than the 15% it reported 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

TSX:BCI Last Perf January 15th 19

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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for New Look Vision Group.

New Look Vision Group’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. 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.

New Look Vision Group has total assets of CA$372m and current liabilities of CA$69m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 19% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On New Look Vision Group’s ROCE

If New Look Vision Group continues to earn an uninspiring ROCE, there may be better places to invest. But note: New Look Vision Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

I will like New Look Vision Group better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.