Should You Like Techtronic Industries Company Limited’s (HKG:669) High Return On Capital Employed?

Alvin Rowe

Today we’ll evaluate Techtronic Industries Company Limited (HKG:669) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. Specifically, we’re going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. 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?

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 Techtronic Industries:

0.16 = US$514m ÷ (US$5.9b – US$2.3b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

So, Techtronic Industries has an ROCE of 16%.

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Does Techtronic Industries Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. Using our data, we find that Techtronic Industries’s ROCE is meaningfully better than the 9.9% average in the Consumer Durables industry. We would consider this a positive, as it suggests it is using capital more effectively than other similar companies. Regardless of where Techtronic Industries sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.


SEHK:669 Last Perf January 12th 19

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.

How Techtronic Industries’s Current Liabilities Impact 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.

Techtronic Industries has total liabilities of US$2.3b and total assets of US$5.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 39% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, Techtronic Industries’s ROCE is boosted somewhat.

Our Take On Techtronic Industries’s ROCE

With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

I will like Techtronic Industries 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.