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Why Groupe CRIT SA’s (EPA:CEN) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Groupe CRIT SA (EPA:CEN) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we'll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Groupe CRIT:

0.18 = €131m ÷ (€1.3b - €602m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Groupe CRIT has an ROCE of 18%.

Check out our latest analysis for Groupe CRIT

Is Groupe CRIT's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In our analysis, Groupe CRIT's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 15% average in the Professional Services industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Groupe CRIT's ROCE is currently very good.

You can see in the image below how Groupe CRIT's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ENXTPA:CEN Past Revenue and Net Income, January 1st 2020

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Groupe CRIT.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Groupe CRIT's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that 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.

Groupe CRIT has total liabilities of €602m and total assets of €1.3b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 46% of its total assets. A medium level of current liabilities boosts Groupe CRIT's ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Groupe CRIT's ROCE

Still, it has a high ROCE, and may be an interesting prospect for further research. Groupe CRIT shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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

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.