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Today we are going to look at Bucher Industries AG (VTX:BUCN) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.
Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.
Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?
ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the 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. 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?
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 Bucher Industries:
0.15 = CHF277m ÷ (CHF2.8b - CHF919m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, Bucher Industries has an ROCE of 15%.
Is Bucher Industries's ROCE Good?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. We can see Bucher Industries's ROCE is around the 14% average reported by the Machinery industry. Regardless of where Bucher Industries sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.
You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Bucher Industries's past growth compares to other companies.
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. 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 Bucher Industries's Current Liabilities Skew 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.
Bucher Industries has total liabilities of CHF919m and total assets of CHF2.8b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 33% of its total assets. Bucher Industries has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.
What We Can Learn From Bucher Industries's ROCE
While its ROCE looks good, it's worth remembering that the current liabilities are making the business look better. There might be better investments than Bucher Industries out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.