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Do ORPEA Société Anonyme’s (EPA:ORP) Returns On Capital Employed Make The Cut?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at ORPEA Société Anonyme (EPA:ORP) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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'.

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 ORPEA Société Anonyme:

0.039 = €470m ÷ (€14b - €2.2b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, ORPEA Société Anonyme has an ROCE of 3.9%.

Check out our latest analysis for ORPEA Société Anonyme

Is ORPEA Société Anonyme's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, ORPEA Société Anonyme's ROCE appears to be around the 4.6% average of the Healthcare industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, ORPEA Société Anonyme'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 ORPEA Société Anonyme's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

ENXTPA:ORP Past Revenue and Net Income, October 18th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for ORPEA Société Anonyme.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect ORPEA Société Anonyme's 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

ORPEA Société Anonyme has total assets of €14b and current liabilities of €2.2b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 15% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

Our Take On ORPEA Société Anonyme's ROCE

That said, ORPEA Société Anonyme's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than ORPEA Société Anonyme. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.