Are Golden Friends Corporation’s (GTSM:4506) High Returns Really That Great?

Today we’ll look at Golden Friends Corporation (GTSM:4506) and reflect on its potential as an investment. 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 of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. 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. 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’.

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 Golden Friends:

0.19 = NT$798m ÷ (NT$6.9b – NT$2.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Therefore, Golden Friends has an ROCE of 19%.

Check out our latest analysis for Golden Friends

Does Golden Friends Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Golden Friends’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.6% average in the Machinery industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of the industry comparison, in absolute terms, Golden Friends’s ROCE currently appears to be excellent.

The image below shows how Golden Friends’s ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

GTSM:4506 Past Revenue and Net Income, March 5th 2020
GTSM:4506 Past Revenue and Net Income, March 5th 2020

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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do Golden Friends’s Current Liabilities Skew Its 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 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Golden Friends has total assets of NT$6.9b and current liabilities of NT$2.7b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 39% of its total assets. A medium level of current liabilities boosts Golden Friends’s ROCE somewhat.

The Bottom Line On Golden Friends’s ROCE

Still, it has a high ROCE, and may be an interesting prospect for further research. Golden Friends 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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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.

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. Thank you for reading.