Is There More To Evonik Industries AG (ETR:EVK) Than Its 8.8% Returns On Capital?

Today we are going to look at Evonik Industries AG (ETR:EVK) 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, we’ll go over how we 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.

Understanding 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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.

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 Evonik Industries:

0.088 = €1.5b ÷ (€21b – €4.0b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Therefore, Evonik Industries has an ROCE of 8.8%.

See our latest analysis for Evonik Industries

Does Evonik Industries Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Evonik Industries’s ROCE is fairly close to the Chemicals industry average of 8.1%. Regardless of where Evonik Industries sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

You can see in the image below how Evonik Industries’s ROCE compares to its industry.

XTRA:EVK Past Revenue and Net Income, September 22nd 2019
XTRA:EVK Past Revenue and Net Income, September 22nd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Evonik Industries.

Do Evonik Industries’s Current Liabilities Skew Its 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 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.

Evonik Industries has total assets of €21b and current liabilities of €4.0b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 19% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Evonik Industries’s ROCE

Overall, Evonik Industries has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. There might be better investments than Evonik Industries out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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.