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# Macquarie Telecom Group Limited (ASX:MAQ) Earns Among The Best Returns In Its Industry

Today we’ll look at Macquarie Telecom Group Limited (ASX:MAQ) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Macquarie Telecom Group:

0.23 = AU\$25m ÷ (AU\$146m – AU\$40m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Macquarie Telecom Group has an ROCE of 23%.

### Does Macquarie Telecom Group Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, we find that Macquarie Telecom Group’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 8.2% average in the Telecom industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Macquarie Telecom Group’s ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

Our data shows that Macquarie Telecom Group currently has an ROCE of 23%, compared to its ROCE of 0.8% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

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

### What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Macquarie Telecom Group’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. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Macquarie Telecom Group has total liabilities of AU\$40m and total assets of AU\$146m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 27% of its total assets. A minimal amount of current liabilities limits the impact on ROCE.

### Our Take On Macquarie Telecom Group’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with such a high ROCE, Macquarie Telecom Group may be worth a closer look. Macquarie Telecom Group 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.

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.