Are Schneider Electric S.E.’s (EPA:SU) Returns Worth Your While?

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Today we’ll evaluate Schneider Electric S.E. (EPA:SU) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed 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.’

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)

Or for Schneider Electric:

0.11 = €3.6b ÷ (€42b – €10b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Schneider Electric has an ROCE of 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Schneider Electric

Is Schneider Electric’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. We can see Schneider Electric’s ROCE is around the 12% average reported by the Electrical industry. Independently of how Schneider Electric compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

ENXTPA:SU Past Revenue and Net Income, July 13th 2019
ENXTPA:SU Past Revenue and Net Income, July 13th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Schneider Electric’s Current Liabilities Impact 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Schneider Electric has total assets of €42b and current liabilities of €10b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 24% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Schneider Electric’s ROCE

With that in mind, Schneider Electric’s ROCE appears pretty good. Schneider Electric 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.

I will like Schneider Electric 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.