Should You Like Health Management International Ltd’s (SGX:588) High Return On Capital Employed?

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Today we are going to look at Health Management International Ltd (SGX:588) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. 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.

Firstly, 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.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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’.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Health Management International:

0.18 = RM89m ÷ (RM629m – RM142m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Health Management International has an ROCE of 18%.

View our latest analysis for Health Management International

Is Health Management International’s ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Health Management International’s ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 6.8% average in the Healthcare industry. I think that’s good to see, since it implies the company is better than other companies at making the most of its capital. Separate from Health Management International’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

SGX:588 Last Perf February 10th 19
SGX:588 Last Perf February 10th 19

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Health Management International.

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

Health Management International has total liabilities of RM142m and total assets of RM629m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 23% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.

Our Take On Health Management International’s ROCE

Overall, Health Management International has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. But note: Health Management International 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).

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.