Dragon Crown Group Holdings Limited’s (HKG:935) Investment Returns Are Lagging Its Industry

Today we are going to look at Dragon Crown Group Holdings Limited (HKG:935) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 of all, we’ll work out how to 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.

Understanding 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. 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?

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 Dragon Crown Group Holdings:

0.083 = HK$80m ÷ (HK$1.4b – HK$203m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

So, Dragon Crown Group Holdings has an ROCE of 8.3%.

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Is Dragon Crown Group Holdings’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. In this analysis, Dragon Crown Group Holdings’s ROCE appears meaningfully below the 11% average reported by the Commercial Services industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from how Dragon Crown Group Holdings stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

SEHK:935 Last Perf January 16th 19
SEHK:935 Last Perf January 16th 19

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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. If Dragon Crown Group Holdings is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Dragon Crown Group Holdings’s ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they need to be paid within 12 months. 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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Dragon Crown Group Holdings has total assets of HK$1.4b and current liabilities of HK$203m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 14% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On Dragon Crown Group Holdings’s ROCE

With that in mind, we’re not overly impressed with Dragon Crown Group Holdings’s ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Dragon Crown Group Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.