Are Human Health Holdings Limited’s Returns On Capital Worth Investigating?

Today we’ll evaluate Human Health Holdings Limited (HKG:1419) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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?

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 Human Health Holdings:

0.12 = HK$37m ÷ (HK$370m – HK$66m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Human Health Holdings has an ROCE of 12%.

See our latest analysis for Human Health Holdings

Is Human Health Holdings’s ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Human Health Holdings’s ROCE is around the 10% average reported by the Healthcare industry. Independently of how Human Health Holdings compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

As we can see, Human Health Holdings currently has an ROCE of 12%, less than the 35% it reported 3 years ago. So investors might consider if it has had issues recently.

SEHK:1419 Past Revenue and Net Income, April 18th 2019
SEHK:1419 Past Revenue and Net Income, April 18th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. If Human Health Holdings is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Human Health Holdings’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 check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Human Health Holdings has total assets of HK$370m and current liabilities of HK$66m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 18% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Human Health Holdings’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Human Health Holdings could be worth a closer look. Human Health Holdings 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.

I will like Human Health Holdings 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.