Are Richelieu Hardware Ltd.’s (TSE:RCH) Returns Worth Your While?

Today we’ll evaluate Richelieu Hardware Ltd. (TSE:RCH) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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’.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Richelieu Hardware:

0.19 = CA$90m ÷ (CA$588m – CA$103m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2019.)

So, Richelieu Hardware has an ROCE of 19%.

Check out our latest analysis for Richelieu Hardware

Is Richelieu Hardware’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. Using our data, Richelieu Hardware’s ROCE appears to be around the 16% average of the Trade Distributors industry. Regardless of where Richelieu Hardware sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

TSX:RCH Past Revenue and Net Income, April 23rd 2019
TSX:RCH Past Revenue and Net Income, April 23rd 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Richelieu Hardware.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Richelieu Hardware’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Richelieu Hardware has total assets of CA$588m and current liabilities of CA$103m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 18% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Richelieu Hardware’s ROCE

Overall, Richelieu Hardware has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Richelieu Hardware shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

I will like Richelieu Hardware 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.