Why PWR Holdings Limited’s (ASX:PWH) Return On Capital Employed Is Impressive

Today we are going to look at PWR Holdings Limited (ASX:PWH) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Understanding 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that ‘one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar’.

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 PWR Holdings:

0.33 = AU$16m ÷ (AU$54m – AU$6.6m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, PWR Holdings has an ROCE of 33%.

View our latest analysis for PWR Holdings

Does PWR Holdings Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, PWR Holdings’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 14% average in the Auto Components industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, PWR Holdings’s ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

ASX:PWH Past Revenue and Net Income, August 5th 2019
ASX:PWH Past Revenue and Net Income, August 5th 2019

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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for PWR Holdings.

Do PWR Holdings’s Current Liabilities Skew 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.

PWR Holdings has total liabilities of AU$6.6m and total assets of AU$54m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 12% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won’t have much impact on the already great ROCE.

What We Can Learn From PWR Holdings’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with such a high ROCE, PWR Holdings may be worth a closer look. PWR Holdings 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.

I will like PWR Holdings better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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.