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Is NetSol Technologies, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:NTWK) 11% ROCE Any Good?

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at NetSol Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTWK) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. 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.'

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 NetSol Technologies:

0.11 = US$7.6m ÷ (US$88m - US$20m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, NetSol Technologies has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for NetSol Technologies

Is NetSol Technologies's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In our analysis, NetSol Technologies's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.0% average in the Software industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where NetSol Technologies sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

In our analysis, NetSol Technologies's ROCE appears to be 11%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 0.2%. This makes us think the business might be improving.

NasdaqCM:NTWK Past Revenue and Net Income, May 7th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. You can check if NetSol Technologies has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do NetSol Technologies's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

NetSol Technologies has total liabilities of US$20m and total assets of US$88m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 23% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On NetSol Technologies's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, NetSol Technologies could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than NetSol Technologies out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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.