Should You Care About Immsi S.p.A.’s (BIT:IMS) Investment Potential?

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Today we’ll look at Immsi S.p.A. (BIT:IMS) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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?

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 Immsi:

0.099 = €108m ÷ (€2.2b – €1.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, Immsi has an ROCE of 9.9%.

View our latest analysis for Immsi

Does Immsi Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see Immsi’s ROCE is around the 9.0% average reported by the Auto industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Immsi’s ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

We can see that , Immsi currently has an ROCE of 9.9% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 3.6%. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

BIT:IMS Past Revenue and Net Income, July 4th 2019
BIT:IMS Past Revenue and Net Income, July 4th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. 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. How cyclical is Immsi? You can see for yourself by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do Immsi’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 assets of €2.2b and current liabilities of €1.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 51% of its total assets. Immsi’s current liabilities are fairly high, making its ROCE look better than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Immsi’s ROCE

Despite this, the company also has a uninspiring ROCE, which is not an ideal combination in this analysis. 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.