Kainos Group plc (LON:KNOS) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Kainos Group plc (LON:KNOS) 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.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

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

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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 Kainos Group:

0.42 = UK£21m ÷ (UK£91m - UK£42m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Therefore, Kainos Group has an ROCE of 42%.

Check out our latest analysis for Kainos Group

Is Kainos Group's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Kainos Group's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 12% 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. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Kainos Group's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

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

LSE:KNOS Past Revenue and Net Income, October 10th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Kainos Group.

How Kainos Group's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.

Kainos Group has total assets of UK£91m and current liabilities of UK£42m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 46% of its total assets. Kainos Group's ROCE is boosted somewhat by its middling amount of current liabilities.

What We Can Learn From Kainos Group's ROCE

Despite this, it reports a high ROCE, and may be worth investigating further. Kainos Group 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.

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

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 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. Thank you for reading.