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Today we are going to look at Sunex S.A. (WSE:SNX) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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 up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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 Sunex:
0.093 = zł2.8m ÷ (zł50m – zł20m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)
So, Sunex has an ROCE of 9.3%.
Does Sunex Have A Good ROCE?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that Sunex’s ROCE is fairly close to the Machinery industry average of 8.2%. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Sunex’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.
As we can see, Sunex currently has an ROCE of 9.3% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 0.2%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.
When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. If Sunex is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
How Sunex’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE
Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills 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.
Sunex has total assets of zł50m and current liabilities of zł20m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 40% of its total assets. Sunex has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost its ROCE somewhat.
The Bottom Line On Sunex’s ROCE
Unfortunately, its ROCE is still uninspiring, and there are potentially more attractive prospects out there. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Sunex. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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 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.