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Should You Worry About Boozt AB (publ)’s (STO:BOOZT) ROCE?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Boozt AB (publ) (STO:BOOZT) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. 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 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. 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'.

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 Boozt:

0.043 = kr57m ÷ (kr2.2b - kr889m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Boozt has an ROCE of 4.3%.

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Does Boozt Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Boozt's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 12% average in the Online Retail industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Boozt's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

Boozt delivered an ROCE of 4.3%, which is better than 3 years ago, as was making losses back then. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.

OM:BOOZT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 23rd 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Boozt.

How Boozt'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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Boozt has total assets of kr2.2b and current liabilities of kr889m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 40% of its total assets. Boozt has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Boozt's ROCE

Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.