Should You Like Redrow plc’s (LON:RDW) High Return On Capital Employed?

Today we’ll look at Redrow plc (LON:RDW) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

Firstly, we’ll go over how we 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.

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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since ‘No two businesses are exactly alike.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Redrow:

0.21 = UK£383m ÷ (UK£2.6b – UK£699m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

So, Redrow has an ROCE of 21%.

Check out our latest analysis for Redrow

Does Redrow Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Redrow’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 14% average in the Consumer Durables industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Redrow’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Redrow’s past growth compares to other companies.

LSE:RDW Past Revenue and Net Income April 23rd 2020
LSE:RDW Past Revenue and Net Income April 23rd 2020

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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do Redrow’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Redrow has total assets of UK£2.6b and current liabilities of UK£699m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 27% of its total assets. This is quite a low level of current liabilities which would not greatly boost the already high ROCE.

Our Take On Redrow’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with such a high ROCE, Redrow may be worth a closer look. Redrow looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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.