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Is RATH Aktiengesellschaft's (VIE:RAT) Capital Allocation Ability Worth Your Time?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at RATH Aktiengesellschaft (VIE:RAT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.

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 RATH:

0.096 = €8.8m ÷ (€108m - €17m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, RATH has an ROCE of 9.6%.

See our latest analysis for RATH

Does RATH Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that RATH's ROCE is fairly close to the Basic Materials industry average of 9.4%. Separate from RATH's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

You can see in the image below how RATH's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

WBAG:RAT Past Revenue and Net Income, March 14th 2020

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. You can check if RATH 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 RATH'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. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

RATH has total assets of €108m and current liabilities of €17m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 15% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On RATH's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, RATH could be worth a closer look. RATH looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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

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.