Today we’ll evaluate ORBIS AG (ETR:OBS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.
Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed 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.’
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 ORBIS:
0.10 = €3.3m ÷ (€49m – €16m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, ORBIS has an ROCE of 10.0%.
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Is ORBIS’s ROCE Good?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see ORBIS’s ROCE is around the 12% average reported by the IT industry. Independently of how ORBIS compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.
Our data shows that ORBIS currently has an ROCE of 10.0%, compared to its ROCE of 6.9% 3 years ago. This makes us think the business might be improving.
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 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
How ORBIS’s Current Liabilities Impact 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 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.
ORBIS has total assets of €49m and current liabilities of €16m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 33% of its total assets. ORBIS has a middling amount of current liabilities, increasing its ROCE somewhat.
The Bottom Line On ORBIS’s ROCE
While its ROCE looks good, it’s worth remembering that the current liabilities are making the business look better. ORBIS 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.