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Should SkiStar AB (publ)’s (STO:SKIS B) Weak Investment Returns Worry You?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at SkiStar AB (publ) (STO:SKIS B) 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.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

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. 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?

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 SkiStar:

0.11 = kr519m ÷ (kr6.1b - kr1.4b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2019.)

So, SkiStar has an ROCE of 11%.

View our latest analysis for SkiStar

Is SkiStar's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see SkiStar's ROCE is meaningfully below the Hospitality industry average of 17%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Independently of how SkiStar compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how SkiStar's past growth compares to other companies.

OM:SKIS B Past Revenue and Net Income, January 28th 2020

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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 SkiStar.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect SkiStar's ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

SkiStar has total liabilities of kr1.4b and total assets of kr6.1b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 24% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On SkiStar's ROCE

With that in mind, SkiStar's ROCE appears pretty good. There might be better investments than SkiStar 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 like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.