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Should You Like Siltronic AG’s (ETR:WAF) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Today we are going to look at Siltronic AG (ETR:WAF) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to 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.

Understanding 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Siltronic:

0.24 = €399m ÷ (€1.9b - €258m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Siltronic has an ROCE of 24%.

Check out our latest analysis for Siltronic

Does Siltronic Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Siltronic's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 12% average in the Semiconductor 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. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Siltronic's ROCE is currently very good.

Our data shows that Siltronic currently has an ROCE of 24%, compared to its ROCE of 3.5% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Siltronic's past growth compares to other companies.

XTRA:WAF Past Revenue and Net Income, February 25th 2020
XTRA:WAF Past Revenue and Net Income, February 25th 2020

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. 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 Siltronic.

Do Siltronic's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Siltronic has total assets of €1.9b and current liabilities of €258m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won't have much impact on the already great ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Siltronic's ROCE

, There might be better investments than Siltronic 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 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.