U.S. Markets open in 1 hr 8 mins

Why You Should Care About Atvexa AB (publ)’s (STO:ATVEXA B) Low Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Atvexa AB (publ) (STO:ATVEXA B) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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.

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 Atvexa:

0.054 = kr77m ÷ (kr1.9b - kr446m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2019.)

Therefore, Atvexa has an ROCE of 5.4%.

View our latest analysis for Atvexa

Is Atvexa's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Atvexa's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 12% average in the Consumer Services industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Atvexa's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Investors may wish to consider higher-performing investments.

We can see that, Atvexa currently has an ROCE of 5.4%, less than the 24% it reported 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. The image below shows how Atvexa's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

OM:ATVEXA B Past Revenue and Net Income, February 8th 2020

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the 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 Atvexa.

Atvexa's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Atvexa has current liabilities of kr446m and total assets of kr1.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 24% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Atvexa's ROCE

With that in mind, we're not overly impressed with Atvexa's ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Atvexa. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.