U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 6 mins

Why The Habit Restaurants, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HABT) Return On Capital Employed Might Be A Concern

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate The Habit Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:HABT) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First of all, we'll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed 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 Habit Restaurants:

0.02 = US$7.7m ÷ (US$454m - US$64m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Habit Restaurants has an ROCE of 2.0%.

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

See our latest analysis for Habit Restaurants

Does Habit Restaurants Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, Habit Restaurants's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 9.5% average in the Hospitality industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Putting aside Habit Restaurants's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor - considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

As we can see, Habit Restaurants currently has an ROCE of 2.0%, less than the 5.8% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently.

NasdaqGM:HABT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 23rd 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Habit Restaurants.

Habit Restaurants's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Habit Restaurants has total liabilities of US$64m and total assets of US$454m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. This is not a high level of current liabilities, which would not boost the ROCE by much.

What We Can Learn From Habit Restaurants's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however Habit Restaurants has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.