Why We Like Devoteam SA’s (EPA:DVT) 29% Return On Capital Employed

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Today we are going to look at Devoteam SA (EPA:DVT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. 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'.

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 Devoteam:

0.29 = €71m ÷ (€500m - €256m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, Devoteam has an ROCE of 29%.

Check out our latest analysis for Devoteam

Does Devoteam Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Devoteam's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 12% average in the IT industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Setting aside the comparison to its industry for a moment, Devoteam's ROCE in absolute terms currently looks quite high.

Our data shows that Devoteam currently has an ROCE of 29%, compared to its ROCE of 20% 3 years ago. This makes us think about whether the company has been reinvesting shrewdly.

ENXTPA:DVT Past Revenue and Net Income, June 13th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. 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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Devoteam.

Devoteam's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Devoteam has total liabilities of €256m and total assets of €500m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 51% of its total assets. Devoteam's high level of current liabilities boost the ROCE - but its ROCE is still impressive.

The Bottom Line On Devoteam's ROCE

So to us, the company is potentially worth investigating further. There might be better investments than Devoteam 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.