Is Franchise Brands plc’s (LON:FRAN) 11% Return On Capital Employed Good News?

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Today we are going to look at Franchise Brands plc (LON:FRAN) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

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

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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?

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 Franchise Brands:

0.11 = UK£3.2m ÷ (UK£42m – UK£12m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Franchise Brands has an ROCE of 11%.

View our latest analysis for Franchise Brands

Is Franchise Brands’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Franchise Brands’s ROCE is fairly close to the Consumer Services industry average of 11%. Regardless of where Franchise Brands sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

AIM:FRAN Past Revenue and Net Income, July 12th 2019
AIM:FRAN Past Revenue and Net Income, July 12th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. 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 Franchise Brands.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Franchise Brands’s ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Franchise Brands has total liabilities of UK£12m and total assets of UK£42m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 29% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Franchise Brands’s ROCE

With that in mind, Franchise Brands’s ROCE appears pretty good. Franchise Brands 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.