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Lyko Group AB (publ)’s (STO:LYKO A) Investment Returns Are Lagging Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Lyko Group AB (publ) (STO:LYKO A) 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. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

What is 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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?

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 Lyko Group:

0.047 = kr21m ÷ (kr666m - kr222m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Lyko Group has an ROCE of 4.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for Lyko Group

Does Lyko Group Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In this analysis, Lyko Group's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 9.2% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Lyko Group's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

Lyko Group's current ROCE of 4.7% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 22%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. The image below shows how Lyko Group's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

OM:LYKO A Past Revenue and Net Income, December 22nd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. You can check if Lyko Group has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Lyko Group's ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Lyko Group has total liabilities of kr222m and total assets of kr666m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 33% of its total assets. Lyko Group has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Lyko Group's ROCE

With this level of liabilities and a mediocre ROCE, there are potentially better investments out there. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. 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 are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.