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Why PlayWay S.A.’s (WSE:PLW) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Simply Wall St

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Today we'll look at PlayWay S.A. (WSE:PLW) and reflect on its potential as an investment. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.

First of all, we'll work out how to 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.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.'

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 PlayWay:

0.43 = zł44m ÷ (zł106m - zł3.9m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

So, PlayWay has an ROCE of 43%.

See our latest analysis for PlayWay

Is PlayWay's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, PlayWay's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 30% average in the Entertainment industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, PlayWay's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

WSE:PLW Past Revenue and Net Income, June 16th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for PlayWay.

How PlayWay's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

PlayWay has total assets of zł106m and current liabilities of zł3.9m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 3.7% of its total assets. PlayWay has low current liabilities, which have a negligible impact on its relatively good ROCE.

The Bottom Line On PlayWay's ROCE

This is an attractive combination and suggests the company could have potential. PlayWay 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.

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.