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Why We Like Coca-Cola Amatil Limited’s (ASX:CCL) 14% Return On Capital Employed

Today we are going to look at Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) 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.

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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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'.

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 Coca-Cola Amatil:

0.14 = AU$674m ÷ (AU$6.3b - AU$1.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Coca-Cola Amatil has an ROCE of 14%.

View our latest analysis for Coca-Cola Amatil

Does Coca-Cola Amatil Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Coca-Cola Amatil's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.8% average in the Beverage industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Separate from Coca-Cola Amatil's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

You can see in the image below how Coca-Cola Amatil's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ASX:CCL Past Revenue and Net Income, December 2nd 2019
ASX:CCL Past Revenue and Net Income, December 2nd 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Coca-Cola Amatil.

Do Coca-Cola Amatil's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Coca-Cola Amatil has total liabilities of AU$1.7b and total assets of AU$6.3b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 26% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Coca-Cola Amatil's ROCE

Overall, Coca-Cola Amatil has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Coca-Cola Amatil 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.

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

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.