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Why We Like PWR Holdings Limited’s (ASX:PWH) 34% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we'll look at PWR Holdings Limited (ASX:PWH) 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 up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 PWR Holdings:

0.34 = AU$19m ÷ (AU$65m - AU$8.3m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, PWR Holdings has an ROCE of 34%.

View our latest analysis for PWR Holdings

Does PWR Holdings Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. In our analysis, PWR Holdings's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 27% average in the Auto Components industry. I think that's good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, PWR Holdings's ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

The image below shows how PWR Holdings's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

ASX:PWH Past Revenue and Net Income, November 23rd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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 only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do PWR Holdings's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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.

PWR Holdings has total assets of AU$65m and current liabilities of AU$8.3m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 13% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won't have much impact on the already great ROCE.

The Bottom Line On PWR Holdings's ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making PWR Holdings look quite interesting. There might be better investments than PWR Holdings 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).

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.