Has VINCI SA (EPA:DG) Been Employing Capital Shrewdly?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at VINCI SA (EPA:DG) 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.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

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

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. 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.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 VINCI:

0.095 = €5.5b ÷ (€91b - €33b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019.)

Therefore, VINCI has an ROCE of 9.5%.

View our latest analysis for VINCI

Does VINCI Have A Good ROCE?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. It appears that VINCI's ROCE is fairly close to the Construction industry average of 9.0%. Separate from VINCI's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how VINCI's past growth compares to other companies.

ENXTPA:DG Past Revenue and Net Income April 9th 2020

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. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for VINCI.

What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect VINCI's ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

VINCI has current liabilities of €33b and total assets of €91b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 37% of its total assets. VINCI has a medium level of current liabilities, which would boost the ROCE.

The Bottom Line On VINCI's ROCE

VINCI's ROCE does look good, but the level of current liabilities also contribute to that. VINCI looks strong on this analysis, but there are plenty of other companies that could be a good opportunity . Here is a free list of companies growing earnings rapidly.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.