Today we are going to look at Kangda International Environmental Company Limited (HKG:6136) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.
First of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
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. 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 Kangda International Environmental:
0.072 = CN¥764m ÷ (CN¥17b – CN¥5.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, Kangda International Environmental has an ROCE of 7.2%.
Is Kangda International Environmental’s ROCE Good?
ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Kangda International Environmental’s ROCE is fairly close to the Water Utilities industry average of 7.5%. Aside from the industry comparison, Kangda International Environmental’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.
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 Kangda International Environmental.
Kangda International Environmental’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.
Kangda International Environmental has total liabilities of CN¥5.9b and total assets of CN¥17b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 36% of its total assets. Kangda International Environmental’s middling level of current liabilities have the effect of boosting its ROCE a bit.
The Bottom Line On Kangda International Environmental’s ROCE
Despite this, its ROCE is still mediocre, and you may find more appealing investments elsewhere. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.
I will like Kangda International Environmental better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.