Is Uflex Limited (NSE:UFLEX) Struggling With Its 10% Return On Capital Employed?

Today we’ll evaluate Uflex Limited (NSE:UFLEX) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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 up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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’.

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 Uflex:

0.10 = ₹5.8b ÷ (₹82b – ₹27b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Uflex has an ROCE of 10%.

Check out our latest analysis for Uflex

Does Uflex Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Uflex’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 16% average in the Packaging industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Regardless of how Uflex stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

NSEI:UFLEX Past Revenue and Net Income, March 24th 2019
NSEI:UFLEX Past Revenue and Net Income, March 24th 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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Uflex.

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

Uflex has total liabilities of ₹27b and total assets of ₹82b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 33% of its total assets. With a medium level of current liabilities boosting the ROCE a little, Uflex’s low ROCE is unappealing.

What We Can Learn From Uflex’s ROCE

There are likely better investments out there. But note: Uflex may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.