Today we are going to look at Goodwin PLC (LON:GDWN) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.
Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Then we’ll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
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. 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 Goodwin:
0.12 = UK£16m ÷ (UK£206m – UK£65m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2019.)
Therefore, Goodwin has an ROCE of 12%.
Does Goodwin Have A Good ROCE?
When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. It appears that Goodwin’s ROCE is fairly close to the Machinery industry average of 12%. Independently of how Goodwin compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.
You can see in the image below how Goodwin’s ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.
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 only a point-in-time measure. If Goodwin is cyclical, it could make sense to check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
How Goodwin’s Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE
Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.
Goodwin has total assets of UK£206m and current liabilities of UK£65m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 31% of its total assets. With this level of current liabilities, Goodwin’s ROCE is boosted somewhat.
Our Take On Goodwin’s ROCE
With a decent ROCE, the company could be interesting, but remember that the level of current liabilities make the ROCE look better. There might be better investments than Goodwin 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.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.