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Why You Should Care About Shiloh Industries, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SHLO) Low Return On Capital

Simply Wall St

Today we’ll evaluate Shiloh Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHLO) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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?

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 Shiloh Industries:

0.062 = US$29m ÷ (US$710m – US$244m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2018.)

So, Shiloh Industries has an ROCE of 6.2%.

View our latest analysis for Shiloh Industries

Is Shiloh Industries’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Shiloh Industries’s ROCE is meaningfully below the Auto Components industry average of 16%. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Aside from the industry comparison, Shiloh Industries’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

As we can see, Shiloh Industries currently has an ROCE of 6.2% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 4.5%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

NasdaqGS:SHLO Past Revenue and Net Income, March 12th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Shiloh Industries’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 the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Shiloh Industries has total liabilities of US$244m and total assets of US$710m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 34% of its total assets. Shiloh Industries’s ROCE is improved somewhat by its moderate amount of current liabilities.

Our Take On Shiloh Industries’s ROCE

With this level of liabilities and a mediocre ROCE, there are potentially better investments out there. But note: Shiloh Industries may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

I will like Shiloh Industries better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.