Are Eagle Health Holdings Limited’s (ASX:EHH) High Returns Really That Great?

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Today we’ll evaluate Eagle Health Holdings Limited (ASX:EHH) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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?

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 Eagle Health Holdings:

0.33 = AU$25m ÷ (AU$96m – AU$21m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Eagle Health Holdings has an ROCE of 33%.

Check out our latest analysis for Eagle Health Holdings

Is Eagle Health Holdings’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. In our analysis, Eagle Health Holdings’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 13% average in the Personal Products industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Eagle Health Holdings’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

ASX:EHH Past Revenue and Net Income, June 26th 2019
ASX:EHH Past Revenue and Net Income, June 26th 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 only a point-in-time measure. How cyclical is Eagle Health Holdings? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Eagle Health Holdings’s 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.

Eagle Health Holdings has total assets of AU$96m and current liabilities of AU$21m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 21% of its total assets. The fairly low level of current liabilities won’t have much impact on the already great ROCE.

Our Take On Eagle Health Holdings’s ROCE

Low current liabilities and high ROCE is a good combination, making Eagle Health Holdings look quite interesting. Eagle Health 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.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.