Ted Baker Plc (LON:TED) Earns A Nice Return On Capital Employed

Today we’ll look at Ted Baker Plc (LON:TED) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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. 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. 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?

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 Ted Baker:

0.26 = UK£71m ÷ (UK£484m – UK£201m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2018.)

So, Ted Baker has an ROCE of 26%.

Check out our latest analysis for Ted Baker

Is Ted Baker’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Ted Baker’s ROCE is around the 22% average reported by the Luxury industry. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Ted Baker’s ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

LSE:TED Last Perf January 9th 19
LSE:TED Last Perf January 9th 19

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 only a point-in-time measure. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Ted Baker.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Ted Baker’s 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Ted Baker has total assets of UK£484m and current liabilities of UK£201m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 42% of its total assets. A medium level of current liabilities boosts Ted Baker’s ROCE somewhat.

Our Take On Ted Baker’s ROCE

Even so, it has a great ROCE, and could be an attractive prospect for further research. 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.

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To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.