Why We Like Concurrent Technologies Plc’s (LON:CNC) 15% Return On Capital Employed

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Today we are going to look at Concurrent Technologies Plc (LON:CNC) 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.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect 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. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 Concurrent Technologies:

0.15 = UK£3.1m ÷ (UK£24m – UK£2.8m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

So, Concurrent Technologies has an ROCE of 15%.

See our latest analysis for Concurrent Technologies

Is Concurrent Technologies’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In our analysis, Concurrent Technologies’s ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 9.9% average in the Tech industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Independently of how Concurrent Technologies compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

As we can see, Concurrent Technologies currently has an ROCE of 15%, less than the 20% it reported 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

AIM:CNC Past Revenue and Net Income, June 21st 2019
AIM:CNC Past Revenue and Net Income, June 21st 2019

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. 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 Concurrent Technologies.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Concurrent Technologies’s 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Concurrent Technologies has total liabilities of UK£2.8m and total assets of UK£24m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 12% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

Our Take On Concurrent Technologies’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Concurrent Technologies could be worth a closer look. There might be better investments than Concurrent Technologies out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

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.