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Why We Like Pelatro Plc’s (LON:PTRO) 28% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we’ll evaluate Pelatro Plc (LON:PTRO) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE 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 measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its 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’.

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 Pelatro:

0.28 = US$1.8m ÷ (US$7.9m – US$537k) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

So, Pelatro has an ROCE of 28%.

View our latest analysis for Pelatro

Does Pelatro Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Pelatro’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 11% average in the Software industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Pelatro’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

AIM:PTRO Past Revenue and Net Income, March 7th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Pelatro.

Pelatro’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its 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 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Pelatro has total assets of US$7.9m and current liabilities of US$537k. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 6.8% of its total assets. Minimal current liabilities are not distorting Pelatro’s impressive ROCE.

Our Take On Pelatro’s ROCE

This suggests the company would be worth researching in more depth. You might be able to find a better buy than Pelatro. 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).

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.