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Should You Like Viomi Technology Co., Ltd’s (NASDAQ:VIOT) High Return On Capital Employed?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Viomi Technology Co., Ltd (NASDAQ:VIOT) 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Viomi Technology:

0.16 = CN¥170m ÷ (CN¥1.9b - CN¥852m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Viomi Technology has an ROCE of 16%.

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Does Viomi Technology Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Viomi Technology's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 11% average in the Consumer Durables industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Viomi Technology sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

NasdaqGS:VIOT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 24th 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Viomi Technology.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Viomi Technology's 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.

Viomi Technology has total assets of CN¥1.9b and current liabilities of CN¥852m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 44% of its total assets. Viomi Technology has a middling amount of current liabilities, increasing its ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Viomi Technology's ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. There might be better investments than Viomi Technology 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.

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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.

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. Thank you for reading.