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What Can We Make Of Sify Technologies Limited’s (NASDAQ:SIFY) High Return On Capital?

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Today we'll evaluate Sify Technologies Limited (NASDAQ:SIFY) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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 Sify Technologies:

0.12 = ₹2.0b ÷ (₹32b - ₹15b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Therefore, Sify Technologies has an ROCE of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Sify Technologies

Does Sify Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, Sify Technologies's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 5.5% average in the Telecom 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 Sify Technologies compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

The image below shows how Sify Technologies's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NasdaqCM:SIFY Past Revenue and Net Income, March 16th 2020
NasdaqCM:SIFY Past Revenue and Net Income, March 16th 2020

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Sify Technologies.

How Sify Technologies's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Sify Technologies has total assets of ₹32b and current liabilities of ₹15b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 47% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, Sify Technologies's ROCE is boosted somewhat.

What We Can Learn From Sify Technologies's ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Sify Technologies 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.

I will like Sify Technologies better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.