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Why Kingspan Group plc’s (ISE:KRX) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at Kingspan Group plc (ISE:KRX) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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.

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 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. 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'.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 Kingspan Group:

0.15 = €459m ÷ (€4.2b - €1.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Kingspan Group has an ROCE of 15%.

See our latest analysis for Kingspan Group

Does Kingspan Group Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Kingspan Group's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 11% average in the Building industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Kingspan Group sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

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

ISE:KRX Past Revenue and Net Income, October 25th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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 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 Kingspan Group.

How Kingspan Group's Current Liabilities Impact 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 the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Kingspan Group has total assets of €4.2b and current liabilities of €1.1b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Kingspan Group's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Kingspan Group could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Kingspan Group out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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.