Is Immsi S.p.A. (BIT:IMS) Better Than Average At Deploying Capital?

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Today we are going to look at Immsi S.p.A. (BIT:IMS) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding 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. 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 Immsi:

0.096 = €88m ÷ (€2.1b – €1.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Immsi has an ROCE of 9.6%.

View our latest analysis for Immsi

Is Immsi’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Immsi’s ROCE is fairly close to the Auto industry average of 9.6%. Separate from how Immsi stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

In our analysis, Immsi’s ROCE appears to be 9.6%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 3.6%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

BIT:IMS Past Revenue and Net Income, February 20th 2019
BIT:IMS Past Revenue and Net Income, February 20th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. How cyclical is Immsi? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

How Immsi’s Current Liabilities Impact 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. 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.

Immsi has total liabilities of €1.1b and total assets of €2.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 52% of its total assets. With a high level of current liabilities, Immsi will experience a boost to its ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Immsi’s ROCE

Even so, the company reports a mediocre ROCE, and there may be better investments out there. 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.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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.