Is Intertape Polymer Group Inc.’s (TSE:ITP) 12% Return On Capital Employed Good News?

Today we’ll evaluate Intertape Polymer Group Inc. (TSE:ITP) 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.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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 Intertape Polymer Group:

0.12 = US$103m ÷ (US$1.1b – US$166m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Intertape Polymer Group has an ROCE of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Intertape Polymer Group

Does Intertape Polymer Group Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Intertape Polymer Group’s ROCE is around the 9.8% average reported by the Packaging industry. Regardless of where Intertape Polymer Group sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

You can see in the image below how Intertape Polymer Group’s ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

TSX:ITP Past Revenue and Net Income, January 8th 2020
TSX:ITP Past Revenue and Net Income, January 8th 2020

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during 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 Intertape Polymer Group.

Do Intertape Polymer Group’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Intertape Polymer Group has total liabilities of US$166m and total assets of US$1.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 16% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Intertape Polymer Group’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Intertape Polymer Group could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Intertape Polymer Group 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.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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.