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Why China Lilang Limited’s (HKG:1234) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at China Lilang Limited (HKG:1234) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

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. 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.

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 China Lilang:

0.27 = CN¥980m ÷ (CN¥4.6b - CN¥935m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, China Lilang has an ROCE of 27%.

View our latest analysis for China Lilang

Does China Lilang Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that China Lilang's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.2% average in the Luxury industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, China Lilang's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how China Lilang's past growth compares to other companies.

SEHK:1234 Past Revenue and Net Income May 26th 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 deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for China Lilang.

How China Lilang's Current Liabilities Impact 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

China Lilang has total assets of CN¥4.6b and current liabilities of CN¥935m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 20% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won't have much impact on the already great ROCE.

Our Take On China Lilang's ROCE

, China Lilang looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.