How Do MotorCycle Holdings Limited’s (ASX:MTO) Returns On Capital Compare To Peers?

Today we’ll evaluate MotorCycle Holdings Limited (ASX:MTO) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

What is 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. 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?

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 MotorCycle Holdings:

0.098 = AU$18m ÷ (AU$236m – AU$48m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, MotorCycle Holdings has an ROCE of 9.8%.

See our latest analysis for MotorCycle Holdings

Does MotorCycle Holdings Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In this analysis, MotorCycle Holdings’s ROCE appears meaningfully below the 15% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from how MotorCycle Holdings stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

As we can see, MotorCycle Holdings currently has an ROCE of 9.8%, less than the 29% it reported 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

ASX:MTO Past Revenue and Net Income, April 16th 2019
ASX:MTO Past Revenue and Net Income, April 16th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

MotorCycle Holdings’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

MotorCycle Holdings has total liabilities of AU$48m and total assets of AU$236m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 20% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On MotorCycle Holdings’s ROCE

That said, MotorCycle Holdings’s ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than MotorCycle Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.