Should You Like Sify Technologies Limited’s (NASDAQ:SIFY) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Today we’ll look at Sify Technologies Limited (NASDAQ:SIFY) 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.

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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.’

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 Sify Technologies:

0.12 = ₹1.5b ÷ (₹27b – ₹14b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Sify Technologies has an ROCE of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Sify Technologies

Does Sify Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Sify Technologies’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 6.3% average in the Telecom industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Independently of how Sify Technologies compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NasdaqCM:SIFY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 28th 2019
NasdaqCM:SIFY Past Revenue and Net Income, May 28th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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. 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.

How Sify Technologies’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.

Sify Technologies has total liabilities of ₹14b and total assets of ₹27b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 53% of its total assets. This is admittedly a high level of current liabilities, improving ROCE substantially.

What We Can Learn From Sify Technologies’s ROCE

The ROCE would not look as appealing if the company had fewer current liabilities. Sify Technologies shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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 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.