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Why Logismos Information Systems S.A.’s (ATH:LOGISMOS) Return On Capital Employed Looks Uninspiring

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Logismos Information Systems S.A. (ATH:LOGISMOS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Logismos Information Systems:

0.023 = €188k ÷ (€9.3m - €1.1m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Logismos Information Systems has an ROCE of 2.3%.

View our latest analysis for Logismos Information Systems

Does Logismos Information Systems Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In this analysis, Logismos Information Systems's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 9.2% average reported by the Software industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Independently of how Logismos Information Systems compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~1.9% available in government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

In our analysis, Logismos Information Systems's ROCE appears to be 2.3%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 1.7%. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can see in the image below how Logismos Information Systems's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

ATSE:LOGISMOS Past Revenue and Net Income, December 21st 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. You can check if Logismos Information Systems has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Logismos Information Systems's ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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.

Logismos Information Systems has total assets of €9.3m and current liabilities of €1.1m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 11% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Logismos Information Systems's ROCE

That's not a bad thing, however Logismos Information Systems has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. You might be able to find a better investment than Logismos Information Systems. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

I will like Logismos Information Systems 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.