Why We’re Not Impressed By SRG Global Limited’s (ASX:SRG) 5.7% ROCE

Today we are going to look at SRG Global Limited (ASX:SRG) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.’

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 SRG Global:

0.057 = AU$17m ÷ (AU$427m – AU$133m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, SRG Global has an ROCE of 5.7%.

View our latest analysis for SRG Global

Does SRG Global Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, SRG Global’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 20% average in the Construction industry. This performance could be negative if sustained, as it suggests the business may underperform its industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, SRG Global’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

ASX:SRG Past Revenue and Net Income, April 1st 2019
ASX:SRG Past Revenue and Net Income, April 1st 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. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do SRG Global’s Current Liabilities Skew 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

SRG Global has total assets of AU$427m and current liabilities of AU$133m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 31% of its total assets. SRG Global’s middling level of current liabilities have the effect of boosting its ROCE a bit.

What We Can Learn From SRG Global’s ROCE

Unfortunately, its ROCE is still uninspiring, and there are potentially more attractive prospects out there. You might be able to find a better buy than SRG Global. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.