Endava plc (NYSE:DAVA) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

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Today we’ll evaluate Endava plc (NYSE:DAVA) 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 of all, we’ll work out how to calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the ‘return’ (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. 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?

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 Endava:

0.20 = UK£27m ÷ (UK£187m – UK£47m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Therefore, Endava has an ROCE of 20%.

Check out our latest analysis for Endava

Does Endava Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, we find that Endava’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 10% average in the IT 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. Regardless of where Endava sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

As we can see, Endava currently has an ROCE of 20%, less than the 57% it reported 3 years ago. This makes us wonder if the business is facing new challenges.

NYSE:DAVA Last Perf February 8th 19
NYSE:DAVA Last Perf February 8th 19

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. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Do Endava’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Endava has total assets of UK£187m and current liabilities of UK£47m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 25% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Endava’s ROCE

With that in mind, Endava’s ROCE appears pretty good. Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Endava. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

I will like Endava better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.