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Today we'll evaluate Baby Bunting Group Limited (ASX:BBN) 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 metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested 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. 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 Baby Bunting Group:
0.14 = AU$15m ÷ (AU$158m - AU$46m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)
So, Baby Bunting Group has an ROCE of 14%.
Does Baby Bunting Group Have A Good ROCE?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. We can see Baby Bunting Group's ROCE is around the 15% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. Independently of how Baby Bunting Group compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.
You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Baby Bunting Group's past growth compares to other companies.
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 misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Baby Bunting Group.
How Baby Bunting Group's Current Liabilities Impact Its 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.
Baby Bunting Group has total assets of AU$158m and current liabilities of AU$46m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 29% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.
Our Take On Baby Bunting Group's ROCE
Overall, Baby Bunting Group has a decent ROCE and could be worthy of further research. Baby Bunting 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.
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 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.