Today we'll evaluate Itesoft S.A. (EPA:ITE) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.
First, we'll go over how we 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.
What is 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. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. 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 Itesoft:
0.23 = €3.6m ÷ (€30m - €14m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)
Therefore, Itesoft has an ROCE of 23%.
Does Itesoft Have A Good ROCE?
ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In our analysis, Itesoft's ROCE is meaningfully higher than the 10% average in the Software industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Itesoft's ROCE is currently very good.
In our analysis, Itesoft's ROCE appears to be 23%, compared to 3 years ago, when its ROCE was 11%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving.
Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Itesoft.
What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Itesoft's ROCE?
Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.
Itesoft has total assets of €30m and current liabilities of €14m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 48% of its total assets. Itesoft has a medium level of current liabilities, boosting its ROCE somewhat.
The Bottom Line On Itesoft's ROCE
Still, it has a high ROCE, and may be an interesting prospect for further research. Itesoft shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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.