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Why We Like Finolex Cables Limited’s (NSE:FINCABLES) 15% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Finolex Cables Limited (NSE:FINCABLES) 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 of all, we'll work out how to 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 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Finolex Cables:

0.15 = ₹4.3b ÷ (₹32b - ₹2.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Finolex Cables has an ROCE of 15%.

View our latest analysis for Finolex Cables

Does Finolex Cables Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Finolex Cables's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 12% average in the Electrical industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Finolex Cables'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.

The image below shows how Finolex Cables's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NSEI:FINCABLES Past Revenue and Net Income, July 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. 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 Finolex Cables's 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.

Finolex Cables has total liabilities of ₹2.6b and total assets of ₹32b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 8.3% of its total assets. Finolex Cables has a low level of current liabilities, which have a minimal impact on its uninspiring ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Finolex Cables's ROCE

Based on this information, Finolex Cables appears to be a mediocre business. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Finolex Cables. 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).

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.