Is ISDN Holdings Limited’s (SGX:I07) 12% Return On Capital Employed Good News?

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Today we’ll evaluate ISDN Holdings Limited (SGX:I07) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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.’

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

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 ISDN Holdings:

0.12 = S$25m ÷ (S$289m – S$82m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

So, ISDN Holdings has an ROCE of 12%.

View our latest analysis for ISDN Holdings

Is ISDN Holdings’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that ISDN Holdings’s ROCE is fairly close to the Electrical industry average of 12%. Regardless of where ISDN Holdings sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

SGX:I07 Past Revenue and Net Income, June 19th 2019
SGX:I07 Past Revenue and Net Income, June 19th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for ISDN Holdings.

ISDN Holdings’s Current Liabilities And Their Impact On 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 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

ISDN Holdings has total assets of S$289m and current liabilities of S$82m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 28% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

Our Take On ISDN Holdings’s ROCE

With that in mind, ISDN Holdings’s ROCE appears pretty good. ISDN Holdings looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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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.