The Habit Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:HABT) Might Not Be A Great Investment

Today we’ll look at The Habit Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:HABT) 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 of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Habit Restaurants:

0.018 = US$7.3m ÷ (US$471m – US$67m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Habit Restaurants has an ROCE of 1.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for Habit Restaurants

Is Habit Restaurants’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, Habit Restaurants’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 8.5% average in the Hospitality industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Putting aside Habit Restaurants’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor – considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

Habit Restaurants’s current ROCE of 1.8% is lower than 3 years ago, when the company reported a 4.7% ROCE. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds. You can see in the image below how Habit Restaurants’s ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NasdaqGM:HABT Past Revenue and Net Income, December 23rd 2019
NasdaqGM:HABT Past Revenue and Net Income, December 23rd 2019

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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Habit Restaurants.

Habit Restaurants’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Habit Restaurants has total liabilities of US$67m and total assets of US$471m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 14% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Habit Restaurants’s ROCE

That’s not a bad thing, however Habit Restaurants has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. 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.

If you are like me, then you will 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.