Today we’ll look at Simonds Group Limited (ASX:SIO) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. 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’.
How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?
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 Simonds Group:
0.62 = AU$10m ÷ (AU$126m – AU$110m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)
Therefore, Simonds Group has an ROCE of 62%.
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Is Simonds Group’s ROCE Good?
ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Simonds Group’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 26% average in the Consumer Durables 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. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Simonds Group’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.
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. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. How cyclical is Simonds Group? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Do Simonds Group’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?
Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.
Simonds Group has total assets of AU$126m and current liabilities of AU$110m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 87% of its total assets. Simonds Group’s high level of current liabilities boost the ROCE – but its ROCE is still impressive.
Our Take On Simonds Group’s ROCE
In my book, this business could be worthy of further research. But note: Simonds Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.