A Close Look At Vente-Unique.com SA’s (EPA:ALVU) 31% ROCE

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Today we’ll evaluate Vente-Unique.com SA (EPA:ALVU) 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 of all, we’ll work out how to 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.

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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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 Vente-Unique.com:

0.31 = €4.6m ÷ (€36m – €21m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Vente-Unique.com has an ROCE of 31%.

View our latest analysis for Vente-Unique.com

Is Vente-Unique.com’s ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Vente-Unique.com’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 13% average in the Online Retail industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Vente-Unique.com’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

Vente-Unique.com’s current ROCE of 31% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 42%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

ENXTPA:ALVU Past Revenue and Net Income, July 3rd 2019
ENXTPA:ALVU Past Revenue and Net Income, July 3rd 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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 Vente-Unique.com.

Vente-Unique.com’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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.

Vente-Unique.com has total assets of €36m and current liabilities of €21m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 58% of its total assets. While a high level of current liabilities boosts its ROCE, Vente-Unique.com’s returns are still very good.

Our Take On Vente-Unique.com’s ROCE

So we would be interested in doing more research here — there may be an opportunity! Vente-Unique.com 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 Vente-Unique.com 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.