Is PW Medtech Group Limited (HKG:1358) Investing Your Capital Efficiently?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today we’ll evaluate PW Medtech Group Limited (HKG:1358) 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 up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. 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?

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 PW Medtech Group:

0.014 = CN¥62m ÷ (CN¥5.2b – CN¥690m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, PW Medtech Group has an ROCE of 1.4%.

View our latest analysis for PW Medtech Group

Does PW Medtech Group Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, PW Medtech Group’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 9.8% average in the Medical Equipment industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Independently of how PW Medtech Group compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is low; especially compared to the ~2.0% available in government bonds. Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

PW Medtech Group’s current ROCE of 1.4% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 10%, 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

SEHK:1358 Past Revenue and Net Income, June 20th 2019
SEHK:1358 Past Revenue and Net Income, June 20th 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. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

PW Medtech Group’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

PW Medtech Group has total assets of CN¥5.2b and current liabilities of CN¥690m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. This is not a high level of current liabilities, which would not boost the ROCE by much.

The Bottom Line On PW Medtech Group’s ROCE

That’s not a bad thing, however PW Medtech Group has a weak ROCE and may not be an attractive investment. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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

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.