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Are Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited’s (HKG:590) High Returns Really That Great?

Isabel Galloway

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Today we’ll evaluate Luk Fook Holdings (International) Limited (HKG:590) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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.

Firstly, 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 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. 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’.

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 Luk Fook Holdings (International):

0.18 = HK$1.6b ÷ (HK$13b – HK$3.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, Luk Fook Holdings (International) has an ROCE of 18%.

View our latest analysis for Luk Fook Holdings (International)

Is Luk Fook Holdings (International)’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Luk Fook Holdings (International)’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 13% average in the Specialty Retail industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Independently of how Luk Fook Holdings (International) compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

SEHK:590 Past Revenue and Net Income, February 20th 2019

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 only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Luk Fook Holdings (International).

How Luk Fook Holdings (International)’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. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Luk Fook Holdings (International) has total assets of HK$13b and current liabilities of HK$3.4b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 25% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Luk Fook Holdings (International)’s ROCE

Overall, Luk Fook Holdings (International) has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. But note: Luk Fook Holdings (International) 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).

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.