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Taiga Building Products Ltd. (TSE:TBL) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Taiga Building Products Ltd. (TSE:TBL) 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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 Taiga Building Products:

0.15 = CA$41m ÷ (CA$433m - CA$158m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Taiga Building Products has an ROCE of 15%.

View our latest analysis for Taiga Building Products

Is Taiga Building Products's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Taiga Building Products's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 11% average in the Trade Distributors industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Taiga Building Products compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

We can see that, Taiga Building Products currently has an ROCE of 15%, less than the 26% it reported 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Taiga Building Products's past growth compares to other companies.

TSX:TBL Past Revenue and Net Income, November 29th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. If Taiga Building Products is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Taiga Building Products'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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Taiga Building Products has total assets of CA$433m and current liabilities of CA$158m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 36% of its total assets. Taiga Building Products has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Taiga Building Products's ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Taiga Building Products shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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.