Today we’ll evaluate Papoutsanis S.A. (ATH:PAP) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.
First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
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?
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 Papoutsanis:
0.047 = €1.4m ÷ (€39m – €9.3m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
Therefore, Papoutsanis has an ROCE of 4.7%.
Does Papoutsanis Have A Good ROCE?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In this analysis, Papoutsanis’s ROCE appears meaningfully below the 14% average reported by the Personal Products industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Regardless of how Papoutsanis stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.
We can see that , Papoutsanis currently has an ROCE of 4.7% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 0.4%. This makes us think the business might be improving.
It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. How cyclical is Papoutsanis? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
How Papoutsanis’s Current Liabilities Impact 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.
Papoutsanis has total liabilities of €9.3m and total assets of €39m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 24% of its total assets. With a very reasonable level of current liabilities, so the impact on ROCE is fairly minimal.
What We Can Learn From Papoutsanis’s ROCE
Papoutsanis has a poor ROCE, and there may be better investment prospects out there. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Papoutsanis. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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 email@example.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.