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Is TUI AG (ETR:TUI1) Creating Value For Shareholders?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at TUI AG (ETR:TUI1) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. 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.

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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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?

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 TUI:

0.058 = €450m ÷ (€16b - €8.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, TUI has an ROCE of 5.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for TUI

Does TUI Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, TUI's ROCE appears to be around the 6.6% average of the Hospitality industry. Separate from how TUI stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

TUI's current ROCE of 5.8% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 12% ROCE. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges. The image below shows how TUI's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

XTRA:TUI1 Past Revenue and Net Income, December 1st 2019

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. 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 TUI.

TUI's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

TUI has total assets of €16b and current liabilities of €8.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 53% of its total assets. With a high level of current liabilities, TUI will experience a boost to its ROCE.

The Bottom Line On TUI's ROCE

Despite this, the company also has a uninspiring ROCE, which is not an ideal combination in this analysis. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.