Is Groupe CIOA’s (EPA:MLCIO) 38% ROCE Any Good?

Today we’ll look at Groupe CIOA (EPA:MLCIO) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. 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?

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 Groupe CIOA:

0.38 = €3.0m ÷ (€18m – €11m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2017.)

So, Groupe CIOA has an ROCE of 38%.

Check out our latest analysis for Groupe CIOA

Does Groupe CIOA Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, Groupe CIOA’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 21% average in the Professional Services industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Groupe CIOA’s ROCE is currently very good.

Our data shows that Groupe CIOA currently has an ROCE of 38%, compared to its ROCE of 24% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

ENXTPA:MLCIO Past Revenue and Net Income, April 18th 2019
ENXTPA:MLCIO Past Revenue and Net Income, April 18th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. You can check if Groupe CIOA has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Groupe CIOA’s ROCE?

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Groupe CIOA has total liabilities of €11m and total assets of €18m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 57% of its total assets. Groupe CIOA’s high level of current liabilities boost the ROCE – but its ROCE is still impressive.

What We Can Learn From Groupe CIOA’s ROCE

In my book, this business could be worthy of further research. Groupe CIOA 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 Groupe CIOA 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.